Libby stays water hookups at Cabinet Heights
Libby Mayor Peggy Williams on Monday swore in police officer Joshua Brabo to the city’s police force. Brabo replaces Jonathan Graham, who left the Libby Police Department for a job at the city’s water treatment plant. (Staff/The Western News)
Hagadone News Network | April 8, 2022 7:00 AM
Landowners looking to tap municipal water in the Cabinet Heights area will have to wait until the city main is replaced there to allow more flow to the housing development.
Libby City Administrator Samuel Sikes has issued a moratorium on new hookups to the city's current 6-inch water main serving properties generally surrounding Cabinet View Golf Club’s front nine, due south of Libby.
Sikes told the Libby City Council on Monday that area development so far has tapped out the main, leaving residents complaining of little or no water flow and otherwise sucking away critical resources for fire suppression.
“Right now, there’s no fire flow,” Sikes told the council during its regular Monday meeting. “We actually pay the fire department [$2,500 annually] to have two water tankers ready at all times for fire suppression.”
Sikes said the stay on new water taps will be lifted when the city finishes replacing the current restrictive main with a larger 10-inch pipe in part through roughly $1.5 million in pending grant funding from the American Recovery Plan Act.
Sikes said area outflow from the city’s water treatment facility provides for a 12-inch main, although state administration of the pending ARPA monies ultimately limit the city to installing only what is “adequate to solve the problem at hand.”
“Sometimes, hard decisions, I have to make one,” Sikes said Monday.
“I have conferred with the city engineer and have confirmed that the water pressures are very low or non-existent,” he wrote in a formal letter addressing the city council. “Low pressures are a serious threat to the health and safety of the users.”
He said health concerns center on the jointing of water service hookups to the main that without sufficient pressure, could allow contaminated water to infiltrate the municipal water supply.
A timeline on completing the replacement has not been made firm.
In other business, Mayor Peggy Williams on Monday swore in peace officer Joshua Brabo to the Libby Police Department.
The council also unanimously approved business license applications for Henry’s Restaurant, 405 West 9th St.; and Sumer’s Services, 2175 Snowshoe Rd.
A beverage license was approved unanimously for Kaiju Bar and Grill, 419 East 9th St.
The council also unanimously approved a resolution designating Michael Fraser as the city’s environmental certifying official.
The position produces an environmental review record for federal, state, local and private funding toward improvements to municipal wastewater treatment, according to the resolution.