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BZN to contribute $3 million to Belgrade’s Wastewater Treatment Facility Project

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BOZEMAN YELLOWSTONE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

BELGRADE – The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport will contribute $3 million toward the construction of the Belgrade Wastewater Treatment Facility Project scheduled to begin construction this year. City engineers calculated the airport’s water and sewer use to be 7.5 percent of the city’s total usage. Therefore, the Gallatin Airport Authority Board, the governing body of the airport, agreed to pay 7.5 percent of the total cost of the $40 million upgrade.

The airport and the city of Belgrade are also currently working to finalize a new water, sewer and land lease agreement that sets the terms of their partnership for the next 20 years. The current agreement, set to expire in 2022, has been updated to account for the nearly 50 years of collaboration between the two parties in the past as well as to provide for a more detailed shared use agreement for the future.

“The airport and the City of Belgrade have collaborated well on this issue since the 70’s, and we look forward to continuing that collaboration for the benefit of the taxpayers and citizens of Belgrade as well as the airport users and tenants,” Airport Director Brian Sprenger said. “This is definitely an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.”

The Airport’s $3 million investment in the city’s water and sewer infrastructure is just the latest in a partnership dating back to 1973 when the airport purchased from the state of Montana a right of way easement for the development of airport sewage treatment facilities. In that same year, the airport granted the city an easement deed for a sewer line and the use of 42.46 acres for a sewer lagoon. Three years later, the airport and the city entered into a memorandum of understanding through which both parties agreed to split the cost of constructing a water tower on airport property and in 1986, the city and airport jointly added a groundwater well located near the water tower.

In 2002, the airport and the Montana Department of Military Affairs installed a second groundwater well, pump, building and standby generator on airport property to supply additional water for the city, airport and the Montana Department of Military Affairs Complex. Additional partnerships between the City and Airport have also been forged to add a spray irrigation system and pump from the existing lagoons to an infiltration/percolation bed installed on Airport property. Additionally, the Airport Authority has granted several easements on airport property to support the jointly beneficial city water and sewer infrastructure. 

“This is an important project for both the City of Belgrade and the airport,” Belgrade City Manager Ted Barkley said. “It builds capacity for continued growth, and frames the continuation and expansion of our mutually beneficial relationship.”

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