Posted: Sep 21, 2012 8:24 PM by MTN News
Updated: Sep 21, 2012 7:59 PM
LAUREL - A new plan to build a rock diversion aross the Yellowstone River at Laurel is the short term solution to the city's water woes.
Construction starts Saturday on a two-foot-tall rock weir across the bottom of the Yellowstone River near Laurel to divert water to the city's water intake.
A rock weir is an outcropping of rock that diverts water, without backing it up like a dam. Laurel city officials and engineers continue to anxiously watch the water in the Yellowstone dip to its lowest level in 80 years.
The city's water intake needs to carry water at all times or the constant variation in water levels can destroy the macherinery; a headache officials are planning to avoid.
As construction wraps up, Laurel's Public Works expects the effects of weir to be immediate.
Long term solutions are still being determined but this solution helps the current situation. As temperatures drop, city officials will go back to the drawing board to maintain water levels.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks also warned boaters Friday that construction of the new structure will make floating and boating in the area more difficult.
Officials expect the weir to back up an additional 15 inches of water and as much as four feet of water crossing the new structure.