Mayor: Goose Creek cleanup ‘moral obligation’

SHERIDAN – The Sheridan County Conservation District requested $5,000 from the city of Sheridan to support ongoing Goose Creek Watershed projects at a council work session Monday. The city often partners with the conservation district in water quality and conservation efforts, contributing $10,000 to Goose Creek Watershed monitoring projects in 2012.

Carrie Rogaczewski, district manager for the conservation district, said the $5,000 contribution for its fiscal year 2014 budget will be used to provide technical assistance for water quality improvement projects on Goose Creek, to improve a database of information about water quality in the Goose Creek watershed, to help publish the annual Goose Creek newsletter and to further implement the watershed control plan.

Rogaczewski also said the conservation district is working with the city and the Downtown Sheridan Association on a project that addresses residential and urban run-off.

“That’s one of our bacteria sources as water flows over the ground, picks up things and gets in the storm drains. That’s an additional thing the city has to treat,” Rogaczewski said.

The program is a demonstration project that will be used to show homeowners different ways to minimize the amount of run-off that goes into gutters and storm drains in order to reduce the amount of bacteria that flows into area watersheds. Possible methods to get water to soak into the ground before becoming potentially harmful run-off include rain gardens, rain barrels, minimizing asphalt amounts and directing water from sidewalks and patios towards soil and away from storm drains.

“The fact of the matter is, we have to clean up the Goose Creeks,” Mayor Dave Kinskey said. ”It’s a moral obligation and a practical one, as well.”

The council work session also included an update from Joe Schoen, project manager for the public works department, on the city’s ongoing efforts to update standard specifications regarding construction of infrastructure in or at ground level — asphalt, water lines, sewage lines, storm drains, etc. The standards are used for all city projects and by outside contractors and developers.

The standard specifications were last updated in 2003. The updated specifications will be considered by Sheridan City Council at its meeting Monday.
A steering committee and city committee have been working for more than a year on updating the specifications. All work has been done in-house on a voluntary basis, Schoen said, which has saved the city money. The committees have currently updated 60 standard specifications and 26 detail specifications to address out-of-date practices.

These include changes to asphalt and water pipe requirements and the addition of cathodic protection, which prevents underground pipe erosion.

The updated specifications will be published electronically on the city website to prevent paper waste and to enable contractors to search the specifications for specific needs.

“Everyone in the industry, engineers and contractors alike, because they saw what was out of date, they wanted to be a part of it. To me, when they’re willing to donate their time like that for essentially a year and a half, that tells me it was definitely time to update the specifications,” Schoen said.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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