old water tower

The new paint job is nice and all, but don't you kind of miss it?

It came down to 11 minutes, city engineer Keith Waring told the Belgrade City Council Tuesday.

Belgrade needs an additional water well because the city failed a state benchmark for water delivery, Waring said. Yet there is nothing wrong with the city’s water supply, infrastructure or quality.

The state requires minimum storage requirements that must equal to the average day plus a three-hour fire flow demand to the tune of 1,858,320 gallons, according to Montana Department of Environmental Quality records. Belgrade falls short at 1 million gallons. The city would have to build either more storage or add a new well to comply. But there’s another test.

The city can still be in compliance if a worst-case scenario can be met, City Manager Ted Barkley told the council. It includes the following: the system has to supply enough water during peak season at peak time with the best well pump down and fighting a three-hour fire.

At 2 hours and 49 minutes, the city missed it by 11 minutes, Waring said.

As a result, the city needs to dig a new water well to be in compliance with the state. The bill is estimated to be $958,000 and should take between 6 - 8 months, Waring said. Barkley said it needs to be done immediately.

“We need to move ahead and dig another well at warp speed,” he said.

The city doesn’t quite have enough cash on hand to pay for the project, but there is time to line up financing, Barkley said. The city is currently examining sites for the well.