A proposal to link Amsterdam Sewer District customers to the Manhattan mechanical wastewater treatment plant has been kicked around for years, but an interlocal agreement should be signed in the coming weeks, Manhattan Interim Mayor Dave Rowell said.

The Amsterdam sewage lagoons, built in 1975, have been out of compliance since a leak was determined in 2009, according to Montana Department of Environmental Quality reports.

The goal is to connect Churchill residents to the Manhattan wastewater facility, according to town records. The Amsterdam district will be responsible for the maintenance and operation of its lines and collecting sewer fees, under the draft agreement. On the other end of the agreement, the town will maintain, operate and be responsible for the sewer system. No annexations will take place.

The Manhattan facility is running less than one-third of capacity, Rowell said. The deal allows Amsterdam district subscribers to one-fourth of the capacity. Anything else is up for negotiation in future years. Future hookups in the Churchill area will subjected to Manhattan impact fees.

Right now, the deal is the Amsterdam district will pay around $260,000 for a one-time hook-up fee, according to town records.

Rowell said if the town charged current sewer impact fees to Amsterdam, the deal would never manifest due to the expense. The current draft agreement should give Churchill customers needed sewer service while protecting Manhattan residents from additional expenses from higher usage.

“We feel it won’t add any costs to us in additional labor at the wastewater treatment plant,” he said. “We’re using a little under a third of the capacity right now. You don’t need any more man power, but where it will help is sharing the operation and maintenance of the facility.”

The mechanical treatment plant was built to replace a failing lagoon system and accommodate massive growth for the Manhattan area, but the housing bubble stripped the town of any growth, according to town records.

Rowell said the agreement will not affect the town’s ability to grow.

The Gallatin County Elections Office is preparing ballots for the election to take place next month.