SEELEY LAKE — Seeley Lake property owners have overwhelmingly rejected a plan which would have cleared the way for construction of a multi-million dollar sewer treatment system to solve groundwater quality problems.
The Seeley Lake Sewer District proposed the pair of bond issues to solve the growing problem of groundwater contamination. Health officials say older septic systems, especially crowded together on smaller lots, are allowing nitrates to seep into the groundwater, threatening wells, but also degrading water quality in the valley's signature lakes.
The first bond would have raised $11.9 million for a new sewage treatment plant. A $5 million for a collection system just for Phase 1 in the Seeley Lake Sewer District, with other phases projected later. And an estimated $227,000 a year for operations and maintenance.
The district had hoped to preserve access to $10.5 million in grants and $6.5 million in low interest loans that are expected to expire this spring. The combination of the bonds would have cost property owners close to $50 per month.
But 70% of the voters rejected the idea of building the first phase of the collection system, and close to 67% were against spending money on the treatment plant. Click here to view the full results.
The district will be meeting this week to discuss the results and next steps.