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Water Treatment plant in Big Sky aims to keep up with growing demand

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Posted at 8:18 AM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 10:18:46-04

BIG SKY - As Gallatin County grows, so does the growing need for water.

A new water treatment plant under construction in Big Sky aims to secure water availability as the community continues to grow.

“This new plant behind me will replace the plant we have had online since 2004,” says General Manager of Big Sky County Water and Sewer District, Ron Edwards.

The number of new residents moving to Big Sky has driven the need for a water treatment plant that is able to keep up with demand.

“We've grown a lot like the rest of Gallatin County,” says Edwards.

Not only has an increase in the population increased the need, but the added popularity of Big Sky as a tourist destination has also added to the pressure on the existing facility.  

“We're impacted by a lot of tourism demand here as well,” says Edwards.

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The number of new residents moving to Big Sky has driven the need for a water treatment plant that is able to keep up with demand.

The current plant has a capacity of around 650,000 gallons of water per day. The new facility under construction is set to have a capacity of 1.3 million gallons a day.

“A lot of which is necessitated by the growth in Big Sky,” says Edwards.

The $48 million dollar plant will use Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) technology which they say will provide more effective treatment, especially during the cold winter months.

“In cold weather wastewater treatment plants do not operate as effectively in the Winter Months. With the new MBR plants, we will have more covered basins, we’ll be able to treat more consistently throughout the year,” says Edwards.

The reclaimed water that the facility produces is used to water golf courses, soon they hope to provide reclaimed water to help with snowmaking at Yellowstone Club.

“The water we treat gets stored in our storage ponds and gets reused for golf course irrigation,” says Edwards

Using funds from the 4% Resort Tax a separate workforce housing project was able to be built in collaboration with the water treatment plant.

“This is the first of its kind project for Big Sky to embark on a public housing collaboration between all of us,” says Executive Director of the Big Sky Community Housing Trust, David O’Connor.

The project located near the Water Treatment Plant was able to add 53 units of housing revenue for the area. The goal is to continue to add more workforce housing in Big Sky.

“The increased capacity that the plant would allow for 500 single family equivalents out of the increased capacity was dedicated towards workforce housing,” says O’Connor.

Construction on the project is set to wrap in in 2024.

Water Treatment plant in Big Sky aims to keep up with growing demand