City Looking To Improve Storm Water System - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

City Looking To Improve Storm Water System

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BOZEMAN -

As temperatures rise and snow starts to melt, many areas are experiencing flooding.

The Bozeman Public Works Department is working to improve their stormwater system to help alleviate some of that flooding.

The Public Works Department spent the last year mapping out the stormwater system across the city.

Bozeman GIS Technician Kyle Mehrens said during that process, they found plenty of issues on two different sides of the city.

"Overall, what we found were quite a few issues within each aspect of that system," Mehrens said. "On the west side, we are dealing with construction-type issues and downtown we are dealing with age and infrastructure."

Downtown's stormwater runoff goes straight into Bozeman Creek with no filtration system in place.

And Mehrens said a lot of people don't realize they are actually harming the environment.

"A lot people think anything that goes in the drains goes right into the treatment plant, which is not true so people will often dump paint, paint thinners, gas, oils, stuff from their garages, cleaning solutions," Mehrens said.

But Mehrens said that as Bozeman continued to grow westward, practices changed. The stormwater on that side of town is now naturally filtered using what are called detention ponds.

"What it does is it treats the stormwater, passively. It doesn't treat everything about it. It treats parts of it," said Mehrens.

Detention ponds are low lying areas designed to hold water and drain it slowly somewhere else.

While they were mapping, the Public Works Department found at least 196 of Bozeman's 366 detention ponds weren't working properly and 67 need repaired.

Mehrens said now they know some of the weak points to make improvements.

"Then plan effectively, upsize pipes or add more inlets to improve our system so it can plan those bigger events," Mehrens said.

He said the current system would be able to handle large amounts of water, like a massive snow melt, but knows some areas will see flooding in the streets.

There will be a public meeting on March 12 to discuss Bozeman's stormwater issues that need to be addressed.

That meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall.

The Public Works Department will then make suggestions to the city commission sometime next month.

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