Septic System Improvement Projects
The Sheridan County Conservation (SCCD) began it's septic system cost-share program in 2004. Since then, SCCD has provided cost-share assistance to for over 40 septic system replacements in Sheridan County. Below are a few project examples:
Septic System Improvement #1 (Mounded, chamber leachfield)
This project is located in the unicorporated Town of Big Horn, Wyoming, south of Sheridan. The project is adjacent to (within 50’of) an unnamed perennial drainage that enters Sackett Creek about 800 feet downstream. The drainage enters Sackett Creek approximately 500 feet upstream of the confluence with Little Goose Creek. Sackett Creek is a perennial tributary to Little Goose Creek. The State of Wyoming has listed Sackett Creek and segments of Little Goose Creek as impaired for E. coli bacteria related to recreational use.
The previous system included a bottomless concrete septic tank of unknown size. The system was believed to have two short (10-25’) leach lines extending from the tank. There was sewage effluent at the surface of the tank; and the tank was being covered with an old stock tank to prevent access by children and/or animals. There were additional signs of system failure present, including odors and vegetation growth. The landowners had to have the tank pumped frequently to minimize the amount of sewage effluent at the surface and to prevent the system from backing up in the residence. The groundwater test pit indicated that a mounded system was necessary; groundwater was present within 4’ of the ground surface. A new septic tank, dosing tank, and mounded leachfield were installed.
The SCCD provided 50% of the project cost through a grant provided by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality under section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The project was constructed according to the specifications and requirements of their Sheridan County permit.
Septic System Improvement #2 (Conventional pipe-bed leachfield)
This project is located on Beckton Road approximately six miles southeast of Ranchester and 14 miles west of Sheridan, Wyoming. The property on Beckton Road sits between Claussen Ditch and Wolf Creek. The 3- bedroom, single-family dwelling house was built in 1901 and finished in 1902. The previous system only contained a septic tank that was covered by a wooden structure with no leachfield. The septic tank was located 47 feet from Claussen Ditch, and the landowner suspected the septic tank overflow drained into this ditch. Claussen Ditch converges with Wolf Creek approximately 950 feet downstream. Wolf Creek is on the impaired list of waterbodies for bacteria.
The new system now runs in between the house and the large barn, approximately 100 feet away from Claussen Ditch. The new system will includes a new 1,000 gallon concrete septic tank, and a 1200 square feet gravel bed. Six lateral pipes were used for the pipe bed.
The SCCD provided 50% of the project cost through a grant provided by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality under section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The project was constructed according to the specifications and requirements of their permit through Sheridan County.
Septic System Improvement #3 (Septic to Sewer Replacement)
This project is located on a 3 acre property within the City of Sheridan and adjacent to Goose Creek. The property consists of a single family dwelling. The previous system was a septic system of an unknown date, located within 50 feet of the sloped bank down to Goose Creek, which is an impaired waterbody listed for E. coli bacteria. The owners decided to connect to the City of Sheridan’s sewer system rather than replace their previous septic system.
Since the owners decided to connect to City sewer, they were not eligible for Federal 319 funding through the Clean Water Act. They were, however, eligible for Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) funding. The SCCD was able to apply for and receive WDA funds to be able to fully fund 50% of the septic to sewer project.
The new system consists of a sewer line from the home to a lift station, up to Dunnick Street to the connection to city sewer. The system from the house also includes a holding tank, dual lift pumps, control panel, alarm system and backflow prevention.
The SCCD provided 50% of the cost of the project using water quality grant funds from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. The landowners were responsible for purchasing the sewer tap fee ($3,000.00), which was applied as landowner match for their portion of the project.
Stockwater and Fencing Improvement Projects
Livestock projects offer voluntary, locally directed cost-share and technical assistance to landowners to improve water quality while upgrading their livestock handling and feeding facilities. Individual projects can be as complex as a complete corral relocation or a simple as closing a water gap, fencing riparian pastures so they can be managed separately, adding stockwater, or diverting runoff. Below are a few project examples:
Stockwater and Fencing Improvement #1
This residence lies approximately 1.2 miles west of Sheridan, WY. Big Goose Creek borders the south, and parts of the west and east side of the property boundary. The previous horse corral was approximately 10,606 square feet, a portion of which accessed Big Goose Creek for livestock water. The previous corral consisted of wooden posts with wooden panels with only a small section of metal wire fence for the creek access (water gap). There was a shelter on the north side of the corral that the horses could access, and a hay pile outside of the corral on the south side. Runoff from the corral flowed directly into Big Goose Creek, which is an impaired waterbody within Goose Creek Watershed.
After surveying the corral area, it was found that portions of the corral are on slightly lower ground, making run-off flow easily through it and into the creek. With the survey information and landowner recommendations, the new horse corral was downsized to 5,071 square feet (52% loss) and completely relocated to the hay pile area (the highest ground surveyed). One berm, approximately 2 feet wide, 1 foot high and 547 feet long, was constructed around the corral and on the south side of the barns. The berm started at the south side of the corral to prevent clean-water runoff from accessing the corrals, and wrapped around the east and then north side of the corral to the south side of the horse barns to funnel the corral run-off water toward an infiltration area. The new berm traveled perpendicular to the existing dirt road thus a culvert and extra fill was needed to build up road base. To avoid livestock from accessing the infiltration area, a 2-rail pole fence was placed around it. A new shelter was also assembled on the north side of the new corral, and a well and stockwater tank was constructed for the new corral as the new water supply.
The Sheridan County Conservation District provided 80% of the cost of the project using water quality grant funds from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. The landowners were responsible for the the remaining 20%. Livestock projects are granted a higher percentage of cost-share due to the overall increase in expense in doing these types of projects as well as the overall increase in water quality benefit.
Stockwater and Fencing Improvement #2
This 127 acres residence lies approximately 13 miles southeast of Sheridan, Wyoming. The previous calving pasture had direct access to Murphy Gulch, a perennial stream running southeast to northwest through this property. During the late winter and early spring, the landowner kept approximately 35 head of cattle for the purpose of calving in this pasture. During the remaining year, he planned for this pasture is to contain several goats (approximately 6). There is a large shelter on the northwest side of the pasture for the cattle to access. Runoff from the pasture and the shelter ran into a large lowland near the large tree within the pasture. Murphy Gulch is a tributary to Prairie Dog Creek which is an impaired waterbody for bacteria.
This project included fencing off the remaining 800 feet of stream bank access. To supply cattle with a water source, a tire stock tank and culvert were installed in between the horse corral and the pasture fence near the large shelter. The fence line along the stream bank of Murphy Gulch was constructed with posts 8 feet apart with a pole top rail and a single pole center rail using standard 52 inches cattle panels for wire. This fence type is required because of the goats that will be pastured in the area for a portion of the year.
Sheridan County Conservation District did not have grant funds from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture for this project, thus they were only be able to provide 50% of the cost of the project using water quality grant funds from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. The landowner was responsible for the remaing 50%.