Town Council talks water

PINEDALE – Rio Verde Engineering presented estimates to the Pinedale Town Council on a proposed project to solve the ongoing Orcutt Hill seep and expand the town’s storm sewer system on March 22.

During winter, excess groundwater entering Lee Ditch can back up and create ice dams, affecting businesses and residents below Orcutt Hill. In 2001, Sublette County, the Town of Pinedale and the Pine Creek Ditch Association installed a pipeline to direct the excess water into the town’s sewer system.

The additional clean water entering the wastewater treatment facility overwhelmed the town’s ability to maintain purity levels required by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

At the council’s Jan. 25 meeting, Rio Verde provided estimates on a proposal by the county commissioners to use existing pipes to move the seepage water from Lee Ditch to the fishing pond at Boyd Skinner Park. During the meeting, Abram Pearce, director of public works, said the fishing pond option would cost between $140,000 and $200,000. Rio Verde presented a plan to carry the excess groundwater into Pine Creek using a gravity pump or pressure line with a price tag of approximately $400,000.

Council members and staff discussed a third alternative at their January meeting – combining the Orcutt seep project into a larger design to overhaul sections of the town’s storm sewer system. The council tasked staff to look into possible funding options and directed Rio Verde to draw up a cost estimate for the third option.

On Monday, Rio Verde returned with a $2.6-million estimate to construct new storm sewers along Tyler Avenue. The firm also included estimates for including portions of Pine, Magnolia, Hennick and Buffalo streets at a total cost of roughly $3.4 million.

Aaron Seehafer, engineer at Rio Verde, explained that the storm sewer project was extensive and involved significant construction costs to replace concrete and asphalt. He added that the plan included working around existing utilities and sewer lines to individual homes.

Pearce recognized that the price tag was high, but stated that rebuilding the storm sewer system would solve multiple wastewater problems for the town, including the Orcutt seep issue. Pearce told the council that he was in discussion with the State Loan Investment Board (SLIB) about obtaining grants to fund the project through federal stimulus money.

Mayor Matt Murdock described the proposal to overhaul the storm sewer system as a dream project for Pinedale and said that if the town received 80 percent funding in state grants, he would be pleased.

Murdock directed staff to continue to communicate with the SLIB board. The council agreed to wait for a response from the state on grant possibilities before considering the storm sewer overhaul project or the less-expensive option to send the water to the fishing ponds.


The council passed Ordinance 682, concerning short-term rentals, by a 3-2 vote on its second reading. Councilmembers Isaac Best, Judi Boyce and Tyler Swafford voted in favor of adopting the ordinance while Murdock and Councilman Dean Loftus voted against the motion.

Short-term rentals are not permitted in residentially zoned areas under current town ordinances. The purpose of Ordinance 682 is to codify requirements to allow these businesses to operate in residential areas.

The primary issue of contention centered on retaining language that permits short-term rentals in residential areas for people living within 30 miles of Pinedale or limiting short-term rentals to hosted businesses where the owner must live on site. For more information, see the March 12 edition of the Roundup.

An amendment to Ordinance 681, requiring that members of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission must be Pinedale residents, passed on third and final reading.

The council voted, 4-1, with Best voting “nay,” to re-adopt Ordinance 683 on second reading. The ordinance prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products within town limits.

Other council news

  • The council approved a new five-year memorandum of agreement between the town and the U.S. Forest Service to manage the Fremont Lake Watershed. Proposals to hire Jorgensen to complete Task 9 of the Fremont Lake Watershed Study and install new interpretive signs at Sandy Beach and the boat launches passed.
  • Councilmembers voted unanimously to appoint Adam Herron to the Pinedale Planning and Zoning Commission.
  • The board approved a contract between the town and the Wyoming Department of Transportation to complete the second phase of the South Tyler Street pathway project. The town is responsible for $47,520 out of the total project cost of $237,000. A Transportation Alternatives Program grant will cover the remainder of the cost.
  • A motion passed allowing the mayor to lift the no-dig period upon staff recommendation to allow Union Wireless to install fiber between the library and courthouse.
  • Councilmembers voted, 5-0, to approve a contract with R&D Sweeping and Asphalt Maintenance to re-stripe pedestrian crossings for $8,100.
  • The board approved an amendment in the contract with T&O Engineers on the Pinedale Airport apron project to redesign new space for the fuel farm to separate jet engine traffic from general aviation in the amount of $14,150. The council also passed a motion to accept CARES Act funding for airport operational costs.


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