Billings   Public   Works   provides   many   of   the   basic   services   that affect    the    daily    lives    of    everyone    who    lives    and    works    in Billings.    Primarily,    the    department    is    responsible    for    all    the things   we   take   for   granted   on   a   daily   basis:   the   administration, planning,       maintenance,       construction       management       and technical engineering of the City's infrastructure. David   Mumford   P.E.   has   served   at   the   Public   Works   Director since    October    2001.    He    is    a    true    professional,    who    can    tell about   all   aspects   of   the   work   of   his   department.   He   is   also   a great    conversationalist    who    can    tell    simple    and    interesting about serious and important things.    JBN: Please introduce Public Works Department of Billings... David   Mumford   P.E.:   Public   Works   is   the   largest   department   in   the city.   We   have   250   full-time   employees.   And   our   budget   this   year   is 165   million.   We   are   revenue   for   services   so   we   are   not   tax-based   or   funded   by   the   General   Fund.   Public   Works   includes   handling engineering   for   all   the   projects   in   the   city,   solid   waste   services   both   collection   and   landfill,   water   and   wastewater   both   plant   processing and   all   the   distribution   and   collection.      All   the   street   maintenance   and   environmental   engineering   for   the   city   fall   under   Public   Works.     So its a very broad-based organization. JBN: Your department prepared Integrated Water Plan. Please tell more about it... David   Mumford   P.E.:   We   have   been   working   on   the   idea   of   how   to   deal   with   water   long   term   needs.      We   secured   our   water   rights which   are   fairly   significant.      One   real   concern   is   we   get   all   of   our   water   from   the   Yellowstone   River   at   the   lowest   place   in   the   city.      So we   have   to   pump   all   the   water   uphill   to   all   City   residents      The   plant   currently   handles   the   water   volumes,   but   we   have   some   summer days   when   people   are   watering   lawns   where   the   water   plant   is   at   its   capacity.   But   long-term   we   need   to   look   at   redundancy   so   that   if something   happens   to   the   river   ,   we   have   enough   water   in   storage.      On   a   regular   basis   we   get   low   water   flows   in   the   winter   when   we get   ice   jams   that   shut   the   plant   down.   Or   because   the   plant   is   over   100   years   old   even   though   we   have   made   upgrades   to   it.   So   we have   been   looking   at   how   to   deal   with   long-term   water.      We   looked   at   everything   from   recycling   the   wastewater   and   all   the   different options.      One   thing   that   came   to   us   in   looking   around   is   the   Knife   River   gravel   pit   that   is   located   on   Shiloh   and   Hesper   Road.   They have   finished   excavating   out   their   gravel   pits   so   we   started   looking   at   it   and   a   good   use   of   a   gravel   pit   is   a   reservoir.      It   already   has groundwater   and   Knife   River   cannot   go   any   deeper   than   the   shale.   We   started   to   analyze   it   and   in   the   analysis,   it   came   to   us   that   we could   provide   about   the   290-acre   lake   that   would   supply   8   months   of   water   if   we   ever   needed   it.   Right   now   the   way   the   city   of   Billings is   that   the   reservoirs   and   pipe   storage   between   8   and   10   hours   we   run   out   of   the   water   and   it   is   less   in   the   summer   time.   It   takes   about 2   hours   to   get   the   plant   back   running   once   we   have   to   shut   it   down.   So   we   have   4   to   6-hour   window   of   a   problem   and   then   we   start running   into   issues   with   being   able   to   supply   water   to   the   people.   This   is   just   not   acceptable   for   a   city   this   size   and   we   have   been spending   10s   of   millions   of   dollars   on   water   reservoirs   but   its   really   hard   to   keep   up   with.      In   the   winter   time,   the   demand   is   such   that we   shut   reservoirs   off   because   there   is   not   enough   water   and   it   would   freeze   in   the   tanks.      So   we   have   even   less   water   stored   in   the winter.      In   the   City   of   Billings   because   we   all   are   trying   to   make   a   desert   green   as   you   know.   We   run   about   18   to   19   million   gallons   a day   in   the   winter   time   but   over   60   million   gallons   of   the   day   during   the   summer.      So   we   have   this   huge   summertime   demand.   What   we are   looking   at   is   building   reservoirs   out   of   the   gravel   pits. That   way   we   would   receive   water   from   the   bbwa   canal.   We   have   talked   to   the BBWA   and   they   are   open   to   the   concept,   but   it   is   not   finalized   yet.      The   canal   runs   right   next   to   the   gravel   pits   so   we   could   take   our water   rights   and   a   portion   of   it   and   use   the   canal   to   convey   it.      Then   fill   the   reservoirs   on   a   year-round   basis   using   the   canal   as   a   way of   getting   it   there.      Then   we   don't   have   to   put   the   water   in   pipes   or   pumps..   It   would   naturally   feed   it. After   that,   we   would   put   a   second water   treatment   plant   on   the   westend   that   would   have   about   20   million   gallons   a   day   which   we   could   supply   the   entire   city   off   the second   plant.      In   the   summertime,   it   would   help   reduce   the   demands.      One   the   other   things   that   are   happening   as   a   community   is   the water   plant   that   is   currently   where   it's   starting   to   max   out   on   days   where   we   are   at   a   point   it   cannot   produce   more   water.      We   have   to upgrade   that   plant   or   build   a   new   one.   It's   cheaper   to   build   a   new   one   rather   than   to   upgrade   pipes   etc   on   the   existing   plant.   We   have to   make   sure   we   have   water   as   it's   a   scarce   commodity.      we   are   fortunate   to   have   the   Yellowstone   River,   but   its   vulnerable   to   an   oil spill,   low   water,   or   any   number   of   things.      What   we   presented   to   City   Council   a   week   ago   is   the   concept   of   the   reservoirs   and   knife   river is   open   to   the   idea.   The   state,   department   of   natural   resources   also   likes   the   idea.      The   council   told   us   to   keep   moving   forward.   So   in the   next   years   capital   improvement   plan,   we   will   start   with   the   purchase   and   design   phase.   Somewhat   ambitious   but   we   would   like   to have everything built within the next 5 or 6 years. The   lake   would   provide   a   great   amenity   to   Billings   and   will   be   4   times   the   size   of   Lake   Elmo.      It   would   have   trails,   areas   for   folks   to picnic   or   swim   or   fish   as   long   as   it's   not   a   motorboat   you   could   be   on   it   and   in   it.   It   would   make   great   recreational   area   right   in   town.     This would provide long-term water to the city of Billings for hundred years.  JBN: So would it not only solve the water issue but also become a kind of entertainment center in the west part of the city? David   Mumford   P.E.:   The   Shiloh   conservation   area   is   in   the   same   area   and   is   a   stormwater   detention   area   which   means   it   cleans   the stormwater   by   going   through   all   the   man-made   wetlands.      I   was   surprised   at   what   an   attraction   it   is   to   people   they   seem   to   love walking   around.   It   has   turned   into   an   amenity   park.   It   was   supposed   to   be   engineers   building   stormwater   dentention   but   we   ended   up building   something   that   people   really   enjoy. Adding   the   lakes   really   adds   to   that.      It   has   a   lot   of   positive   aspects   considering   it   will   cost 50   million   to   build   but   costs   80   million   to   upgrade   the   existing   plant   so   its   cheaper.      It   has   a   lot   of   benefit   to   it.      We   are   hoping   also   out of   it   that   we   can   put   piping   in   such   that   new   subdivisions   that   are   build   out   there   can   irrigate   from   untreated   water   so   we   don't   spend   all the   money   on   to   that   water   to   throw   it   on   the   ground.      So   it   would   be   more   cost-effective   and   environmentally   better   and   chlorinated water isn't good for the system being in the environment. It would be good to have naturally filtered water to water lawns. JBN: Do you have also some other project? David   Mumford   P.E.:   We   have   many   projects.   This   is   just   one   project   that   we   have   going.   Right   now   we   currently   rebuilding   the waste-water   treatment   plant.      This   a   73   million   dollar   project   to   upgrade   and   meet   new   state   and   federal   standards   for   waste-water discharge.      Its   the   first   phase   but   we   are   looking   at   what   we   can   do   to   minimize   the   next   ones.      Most   of   the   upgrade   will   be   to   treat phospherous   and   nitrogen   which   when   it   enters   the   river   creates   algae   growth   which   can   be   detrimental.      But   we   want   to   be   sure   the river   is   safe.   Public   works   takes   very   seriously   we   have   so   much   we   are   doing   is   that   we   take   care   of   the   environment.   We   make   sure the   river   and   the   community   are   well   taken   care   of   and   we   are   not   doing   anything   detrimental   to   the   river   or   wildlife.      We   would   like   to make sure we do all we can to do a good job that way. The staff takes that very seriously and really wants to do that. JBN:   Residents   of   the   city   still   remember   the   snowstorm   at   the   end   of   the   year.   All   the   streets   were   plowed   of   snow   pretty quick. Your department did really great job. Tell please about the routine of plowing the streets from snow in that winter. David   Mumford   P.E.:   I t   takes   a   long   time   to   do   it   and   just   normal   plowing   like   that   last   storm   just   the   arterial   streets   to   plow   and   haul   it they   worked   24   hours   a   day   for   9   days.      Just   to   get   through   the   main   roads   just   to   plow   it   and   haul   it   away   and   such.      We   really   had staff   working   24   hours   a   day   for   9   days   to   do   that.      it's   a   big   job.      The   staff   very   good   and   worked   12-hour   shifts   to   make   sure   all plowing,   hauling,   and   sanding   was   completed.   The   supervisors   are   great   because   they   have   to   be   there   all   the   time.   It's   a   really   good group   all   of   the   public   works.      The   garbage   collection   guys   do   a   great   job   picking   up   ant   a   take   care   of   it.   That   as   another   project.      We are   in   the   design   of   a   transfer   type   center   at   the   landfill.      The   new   transfer   station   will   be   an   area   where   citizens   can   dump   their garbage   inside   a   building,which   will   help   with   all   the   blowing   of   trash   that   can   occur   with   high   winds.      This   will   also   help   with   improving safety   so   that   people   will   not   be   driving   around   landfill   vehicles.   We   have   heavy   equipment   burying   and   compacting   trash.   The   trash will   be   sorted,   taken   to   a   specific   area,   and   compacted.     This   will   lengthen   the   life   out   of   the   landfill.   Right   now   the   landfill   has   about   40 to   50   years.      We   have   an   additional   section   that   we   are   permitting   for   future   so   we   have   over   100   years   of   landfill   left.      This   may   not seem   like   a   jewel   but   communities   struggle   with   having   a   landfill.   Communities   go   to   recycling   because   they   have   no   place   to   put   their trash.      We   recognize   what   we   do   well   and   what   we   don't   do   well.      Unfortunately   recycling   is   expensive.     There   is   so   much   hand   sorting and   following   commodity   markets,   Public   Works   would   rather   support   the   companies   here   in   town   that   do   recycling   and   help   them when   we   can.     To   support   them,   we   do   yard   waste   recycling,   we   have   the   ability   to   handle   fuel,   oils,   electronics,   and   take   these   item   to places   who   handle   such   waste.      Hazardous   waste   we   take   and   ship   it   out   as   part   of   the   collection   costs.   Last   year   we   handled   over 350,000 tons of trash. JBN: What kind of difficulties your department is facing with garbage collection service here in Billings? David   Mumford   P.E.:   Billings   is   windy.   Our   biggest   problem   is   the   small   light   plastic   bags..   If   you   don't   bag   them   when   we   dump   them the   wind   takes   them   and   they   blow   away   and   they   are   everywhere.      The   other   thing   we   are   hoping   long-term   with   the   building   is   to work   with   some   of   the   organization   in   the   town   like   habitat   for   humanity   and   rehab   store   people   have   lots   of   lumber,   sheetrock,   or cabinets   for   example   that   are   still   good.   We   would   like   to   be   able   to   separate   those   out   and   have   those   used   by   the   public   or organizations   to   build   homes.   Not   to   be   buried   but   actually   used   that   to   try   to   benefit   the   community   in   a   reuse   mode.      We   are exploring   whether   or   not   we   can   give   home   builders   a   discount   on   dumping   fees   if   they   will   separate   some   of   the   good   stuff   out   that can be reused.  If I don't have to bury it then I should be able to charge them somewhat less for doing that. JBN:   Your   department   does   so   much   work!   I   guess   that   many   people   even   don't   imagine   how   many   different   things   running in the city thanks to Public Work Department.  David   Mumford   P.E.:   People   just   wanna   know   that   their   garbage   their   wastewater   something   happens   to   it   and   they   hope   its   good. And   we   try   really   hard   to   do   that. They   wanna   know   when   they   turn   on   their   water   tap   there   is   always   water   coming   out. The   streets   are taken   care   of   the   storm   drains   are   taken   care   of.   We   build   things   correctly.      One   of   the   things   for   the   last   158   to   16years   we   try   to change.   The   roads   are   not   just   for   cars.   there   are   trails,   landscaping   to   make them   more.      When   you   drive   down   Zimmerman   trail   or   drive   down   24th   the environment   differs   on   how   you   feel   on   the   road   is   because   of   the   trail   the landscaping.   It's   not   so.   If   you   have   a   hard   surface   it   makes   you   tenser.      We are   trying   to   make   sure   the   roads   are   good   for   people   who   want   to   ride bicycles,   walk   take   transit.      one   of   the   things   we   are   working   on   and   I   think would.    It's    tough    when    it    snows.    Hand    shoveling    the    ADA    ramps    at intersections.   We   are   selling   all   of   those   out   recognizing   that   they   are   a   part   of our   community   that   needs   to   get   around   that   struggles.      Especially   in   the winter   time   environment,   we   are   trying   to   figure   out   ways   to   do   that   better.   So everybody   gets   around.      The   community   has   changed   a   lot   for   that   better.   We are   recognizing   that   people   get   around   in   all   kinds   of   ways,   not   just   in   a   car. The   first   real   trails   were   only   14   years   ago   so   a   lot   has   happened   in   a   short period   of   time.   There   is   a   recognition   that   especially   by   the   City   Council   the past   and   current   that   if   you   want   professional   or   younger   people   to   come   tot   he community   you   have   to   private   them   with   something   to   do   after   work   and something   to   do   on   weekends.      That   is   where   the   trails   start   to   come   in.   In places   for   people   to   go.   One   of   the   nice   things   that   Billings   is   recognized   and moving   towards. There   a   lot   of   positive   groups   trail   net   works   with   the   city   staff. Riverstone   Health   lots   of   good   organizations   that   work   with   us   to   make   it   a better    place.   That    is    one    thing    nice    there    is    not    only    just    inside    the    city organizations   but   outside   organizations   that   work   with   us   and   folks   that   are really    interested    in    the    community.        Shilo    conservation    area    we    had Yellowstone   River   Park   association   donated   benches.   Wild   birds   unlimited   put up   bird's   houses   out   there   to   better   attract.      Lots   of   small   business   and   such has helped us with planting trees benches etc.   JBN:   If   we   come   back   to   topic   about   plowing   streets.   How   many   inches of snow should we get that you would start to plowing? David   Mumford   P.E.:   The   main   road's   arterials   we   start   plowing   if   we   think   we will   get   3   inches.   On   small   residential   local   streets   where   this   is   the   first   year we   have   plowed.      We   are   saying   that   from   talking   to   the   council   and   costs   it has   to   be   over   3   inches   between   3.5   to   4   then   we   will   plow   like   we   did   this   last   time..   for   the   first   time   plowing   especially   for   the   private companies   they   did   a   very   good   job   on   the   streets.   We   anticipated   6   days   it   took   7.5   but   it   was   their   first   time   and   we   got   almost   15 inches   of   snow   which   is   a   lot   to   move   at   once.      Once   we   plowed   it   we   had   slippery   street   because   of   the   ice   underneath.      We   are struggling   with   places   to   put   the   snow.   That   was   a   lot   of   snow   to   move.     Moving snow around trying to figure out where to store it. JBN:    Is    there    some    kind    of    schedule    for    plowing    residential streets?   David   Mumford   P.E.:   Residential   we   have      6   areas   the   city   broke   out for   sweeping   so   we   use   that   with   the   contractor   to   move   through.   We started   on   the   south   side   this   last   time   moved   to   the   north,   the   heights and   then   downtown.      The   next   time   we   will   reverse   that   order.   We   keep rotating   it   so   that   nobody   s   always   last.     And   then   the   arterials   the   main road   our   goal   is   to   in   about   36   to   48   hours   and   we   can   plow   everything to    the    point    where    it's    all    driveable.    That    is    our    first    goal    to    plow everything   and   then   we   start   picking   up   the   snow   that's   plowed   to   center and   at   that   point   if   we   can   we   try   to   make   sure   the   trails   are   cleared. Parks   and   rec   helped   us   with   this   last   storm.      We   hopefully   within   24   to 36    hours    the    trails    are    plowed    after    the    storm    ends.        Try    to    get everything   going.   there   are   37   people   in   streets   split   into   2   12   hours shifts   there   are   not   a   lot   of   people   working   with   all   the   equipment   and such.      We   did   hire   more   to   do   residential   talking   to   the   council   by   the time   you   bought   all   the   equipment   and   hire   the   people   and   if   you   have winter   with   not   much   snow   so   we   contracted   out.      There   are   a   lot   of construction   companies   with   great   operators   with   equipment   sitting   all winter.   It's   more   effective   than   to   hire   any   people.      Use   the   private sector when they have great talent to help us. Keep people working. JBN:   Last   question   about   the   constructions   what   we   have   on   the streets   every   summer.   Last   year   it   was   on   the   6th   noth   street.   What kind   of   works   you   did   in   that   area   and   what   projects   do   you   have for summer 2018? David   Mumford   P.E.:   We   had   water   and   sewer   mains   that   were   old   that we   had   to   replace   so   the   work   there   at   the   division.   For   us   was   difficult   it was   congestive   little   area   to   get   through.   They   were   big   pipes   that   were deep.   They   are   done.      That's   all   done.      We   will   go   confuse   people somewhere   else   this   summer.      Every   year   we   do   about   7   to   8   million   dollars   worth   of   water   and   sewer   replacement   to   try   to   keep   up with the system.  We are engineering where project will be next year.
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David Mumford P.E., man who has his finger on the pulse of the City
Interview
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Billings          Public          Works provides    many    of    the    basic services   that   affect   the   daily lives    of    everyone    who    lives and       works       in       Billings. Primarily,    the    department    is responsible   for   all   the   things we   take   for   granted   on   a   daily basis:      the      administration, planning,              maintenance, construction         management and technical engineering of the City's infrastructure. David   Mumford   P.E.   has   served   at   the   Public   Works   Director since   October   2001.   He   is   a   true   professional,   who   can   tell about   all   aspects   of   the   work   of   his   department.   He   is   also   a great   conversationalist   who   can   tell   simple   and   interesting about serious and important things.    JBN: Please introduce Public Works Department of Billings... David   Mumford   P.E.:   Public   Works   is   the   largest   department   in the   city.   We   have   250   full-time   employees.   And   our   budget   this year   is   165   million.   We   are   revenue   for   services   so   we   are   not tax-based   or   funded   by   the   General   Fund.   Public   Works   includes handling   engineering   for   all   the   projects   in   the   city,   solid   waste services   both   collection   and   landfill,   water   and   wastewater   both plant   processing   and   all   the   distribution   and   collection.      All   the street   maintenance   and   environmental   engineering   for   the   city   fall under Public Works.  So its a very broad-based organization. JBN:   Your   department   prepared   Integrated   Water   Plan.   Please tell more about it... David   Mumford   P.E.:   We   have   been   working   on   the   idea   of   how   to deal   with   water   long   term   needs.      We   secured   our   water   rights which   are   fairly   significant.      One   real   concern   is   we   get   all   of   our water   from   the   Yellowstone   River   at   the   lowest   place   in   the   city.     So   we   have   to   pump   all   the   water   uphill   to   all   City   residents      The plant   currently   handles   the   water   volumes,   but   we   have   some summer   days   when   people   are   watering   lawns   where   the   water plant    is    at    its    capacity.    But    long-term    we    need    to    look    at redundancy   so   that   if   something   happens   to   the   river   ,   we   have enough   water   in   storage.      On   a   regular   basis   we   get   low   water flows   in   the   winter   when   we   get   ice   jams   that   shut   the   plant   down. Or   because   the   plant   is   over   100   years   old   even   though   we   have made   upgrades   to   it.   So   we   have   been   looking   at   how   to   deal with   long-term   water.      We   looked   at   everything   from   recycling   the wastewater   and   all   the   different   options.      One   thing   that   came   to us   in   looking   around   is   the   Knife   River   gravel   pit   that   is   located   on Shiloh   and   Hesper   Road.   They   have   finished   excavating   out   their gravel   pits   so   we   started   looking   at   it   and   a   good   use   of   a   gravel pit   is   a   reservoir.      It   already   has   groundwater   and   Knife   River cannot   go   any   deeper   than   the   shale.   We   started   to   analyze   it and   in   the   analysis,   it   came   to   us   that   we   could   provide   about   the 290-acre   lake   that   would   supply   8   months   of   water   if   we   ever needed    it.    Right    now    the    way    the    city    of    Billings    is    that    the reservoirs   and   pipe   storage   between   8   and   10   hours   we   run   out of   the   water   and   it   is   less   in   the   summer   time.   It   takes   about   2 hours   to   get   the   plant   back   running   once   we   have   to   shut   it   down. So   we   have   4   to   6-hour   window   of   a   problem   and   then   we   start running   into   issues   with   being   able   to   supply   water   to   the   people. This   is   just   not   acceptable   for   a   city   this   size   and   we   have   been spending   10s   of   millions   of   dollars   on   water   reservoirs   but   its really   hard   to   keep   up   with.      In   the   winter   time,   the   demand   is such   that   we   shut   reservoirs   off   because   there   is   not   enough water   and   it   would   freeze   in   the   tanks.      So   we   have   even   less water   stored   in   the   winter.      In   the   City   of   Billings   because   we   all are   trying   to   make   a   desert   green   as   you   know.   We   run   about   18 to   19   million   gallons   a   day   in   the   winter   time   but   over   60   million gallons   of   the   day   during   the   summer.      So   we   have   this   huge summertime    demand.    What    we    are    looking    at    is    building reservoirs   out   of   the   gravel   pits. That   way   we   would   receive   water from   the   bbwa   canal.   We   have   talked   to   the   BBWA   and   they   are open   to   the   concept,   but   it   is   not   finalized   yet.      The   canal   runs right   next   to   the   gravel   pits   so   we   could   take   our   water   rights   and a   portion   of   it   and   use   the   canal   to   convey   it.      Then   fill   the reservoirs   on   a   year-round   basis   using   the   canal   as   a   way   of getting   it   there.      Then   we   don't   have   to   put   the   water   in   pipes   or pumps..   It   would   naturally   feed   it.   After   that,   we   would   put   a second   water   treatment   plant   on   the   westend   that   would   have about   20   million   gallons   a   day   which   we   could   supply   the   entire city   off   the   second   plant.      In   the   summertime,   it   would   help   reduce the   demands.      One   the   other   things   that   are   happening   as   a community   is   the   water   plant   that   is   currently   where   it's   starting   to max   out   on   days   where   we   are   at   a   point   it   cannot   produce   more water.      We   have   to   upgrade   that   plant   or   build   a   new   one.   It's cheaper   to   build   a   new   one   rather   than   to   upgrade   pipes   etc   on the   existing   plant.   We   have   to   make   sure   we   have   water   as   it's   a scarce   commodity.      we   are   fortunate   to   have   the   Yellowstone River,   but   its   vulnerable   to   an   oil   spill,   low   water,   or   any   number   of things.      What   we   presented   to   City   Council   a   week   ago   is   the concept   of   the   reservoirs   and   knife   river   is   open   to   the   idea.   The state,   department   of   natural   resources   also   likes   the   idea.      The council   told   us   to   keep   moving   forward.   So   in   the   next   years capital   improvement   plan,   we   will   start   with   the   purchase   and design   phase.   Somewhat   ambitious   but   we   would   like   to   have everything built within the next 5 or 6 years. The   lake   would   provide   a   great   amenity   to   Billings   and   will   be   4 times   the   size   of   Lake   Elmo.      It   would   have   trails,   areas   for   folks to   picnic   or   swim   or   fish   as   long   as   it's   not   a   motorboat   you   could be   on   it   and   in   it.   It   would   make   great   recreational   area   right   in town.     This   would   provide   long-term   water   to   the   city   of   Billings   for hundred years.  JBN:   So   would   it   not   only   solve   the   water   issue   but   also become   a   kind   of   entertainment   center   in   the   west   part   of   the city? David   Mumford   P.E.:   The   Shiloh   conservation   area   is   in   the same   area   and   is   a   stormwater   detention   area   which   means   it cleans    the    stormwater    by    going    through    all    the    man-made wetlands.      I   was   surprised   at   what   an   attraction   it   is   to   people they   seem   to   love   walking   around.   It   has   turned   into   an   amenity park.    It    was    supposed    to    be    engineers    building    stormwater dentention   but   we   ended   up   building   something   that   people   really enjoy. Adding   the   lakes   really   adds   to   that.      It   has   a   lot   of   positive aspects   considering   it   will   cost   50   million   to   build   but   costs   80 million   to   upgrade   the   existing   plant   so   its   cheaper.      It   has   a   lot   of benefit   to   it.      We   are   hoping   also   out   of   it   that   we   can   put   piping   in such   that   new   subdivisions   that   are   build   out   there   can   irrigate from   untreated   water   so   we   don't   spend   all   the   money   on   to   that water   to   throw   it   on   the   ground.      So   it   would   be   more   cost- effective   and   environmentally   better   and   chlorinated   water   isn't good   for   the   system   being   in   the   environment.   It   would   be   good   to have naturally filtered water to water lawns. JBN: Do you have also some other project? David   Mumford   P.E.:   We   have   many   projects.   This   is   just   one project   that   we   have   going.   Right   now   we   currently   rebuilding   the waste-water   treatment   plant.      This   a   73   million   dollar   project   to upgrade   and   meet   new   state   and   federal   standards   for   waste- water   discharge.      Its   the   first   phase   but   we   are   looking   at   what   we can   do   to   minimize   the   next   ones.      Most   of   the   upgrade   will   be   to treat   phospherous   and   nitrogen   which   when   it   enters   the   river creates   algae   growth   which   can   be   detrimental.      But   we   want   to be   sure   the   river   is   safe.   Public   works   takes   very   seriously   we have    so    much    we    are    doing    is    that    we    take    care    of    the environment.   We   make   sure   the   river   and   the   community   are   well taken   care   of   and   we   are   not   doing   anything   detrimental   to   the river   or   wildlife.      We   would   like   to   make   sure   we   do   all   we   can   to do   a   good   job   that   way.   The   staff   takes   that   very   seriously   and really wants to do that. JBN:   Residents   of   the   city   still   remember   the   snowstorm   at the   end   of   the   year.   All   the   streets   were   plowed   of   snow pretty   quick. Your   department   did   really   great   job.   Tell   please about   the   routine   of   plowing   the   streets   from   snow   in   that winter. David   Mumford   P.E.:   I t   takes   a   long   time   to   do   it   and   just   normal plowing   like   that   last   storm   just   the   arterial   streets   to   plow   and haul   it   they   worked   24   hours   a   day   for   9   days.      Just   to   get   through the   main   roads   just   to   plow   it   and   haul   it   away   and   such.      We really   had   staff   working   24   hours   a   day   for   9   days   to   do   that.      it's   a big   job.      The   staff   very   good   and   worked   12-hour   shifts   to   make sure    all    plowing,    hauling,    and    sanding    was    completed.    The supervisors   are   great   because   they   have   to   be   there   all   the   time. It's   a   really   good   group   all   of   the   public   works.      The   garbage collection   guys   do   a   great   job   picking   up   ant   a   take   care   of   it. That as   another   project.      We   are   in   the   design   of   a   transfer   type   center at   the   landfill.      The   new   transfer   station   will   be   an   area   where citizens   can   dump   their   garbage   inside   a   building,which   will   help with   all   the   blowing   of   trash   that   can   occur   with   high   winds.      This will   also   help   with   improving   safety   so   that   people   will   not   be driving    around    landfill    vehicles.    We    have    heavy    equipment burying   and   compacting   trash. The   trash   will   be   sorted,   taken   to   a specific   area,   and   compacted.      This   will   lengthen   the   life   out   of the   landfill.   Right   now   the   landfill   has   about   40   to   50   years.      We have   an   additional   section   that   we   are   permitting   for   future   so   we have   over   100   years   of   landfill   left.      This   may   not   seem   like   a jewel      but      communities      struggle      with      having      a      landfill. Communities   go   to   recycling   because   they   have   no   place   to   put their   trash.      We   recognize   what   we   do   well   and   what   we   don't   do well.      Unfortunately   recycling   is   expensive.      There   is   so   much hand    sorting    and    following    commodity    markets,    Public    Works would    rather    support    the    companies    here    in    town    that    do recycling   and   help   them   when   we   can.      To   support   them,   we   do yard   waste   recycling,   we   have   the   ability   to   handle   fuel,   oils, electronics,    and    take    these    item    to    places    who    handle    such waste.      Hazardous   waste   we   take   and   ship   it   out   as   part   of   the collection costs. Last year we handled over 350,000 tons of trash. JBN:   What   kind   of   difficulties   your   department   is   facing   with garbage collection service here in Billings? David   Mumford   P.E.:   Billings   is   windy.   Our   biggest   problem   is the   small   light   plastic   bags..   If   you   don't   bag   them   when   we   dump them   the   wind   takes   them   and   they   blow   away   and   they   are everywhere.      The   other   thing   we   are   hoping   long-term   with   the building   is   to   work   with   some   of   the   organization   in   the   town   like habitat   for   humanity   and   rehab   store   people   have   lots   of   lumber, sheetrock,   or   cabinets   for   example   that   are   still   good.   We   would like   to   be   able   to   separate   those   out   and   have   those   used   by   the public    or    organizations    to    build    homes.    Not    to    be    buried    but actually   used   that   to   try   to   benefit   the   community   in   a   reuse mode.        We    are    exploring    whether    or    not    we    can    give    home builders   a   discount   on   dumping   fees   if   they   will   separate   some   of the   good   stuff   out   that   can   be   reused.      If   I   don't   have   to   bury   it then   I   should   be   able   to   charge   them   somewhat   less   for   doing that. JBN:    Your    department    does    so    much    work!    I    guess    that many   people   even   don't   imagine   how   many   different   things running in the city thanks to Public Work Department.  David   Mumford   P.E.:   People   just   wanna   know   that   their   garbage their   wastewater   something   happens   to   it   and   they   hope   its   good. And   we   try   really   hard   to   do   that.   They   wanna   know   when   they turn   on   their   water   tap   there   is   always   water   coming   out.   The streets   are   taken   care   of   the   storm   drains   are   taken   care   of.   We build    things    correctly.        One    of    the    things    for    the    last    158    to 16years   we   try   to   change.   The   roads   are   not   just   for   cars.   there are   trails,   landscaping   to   make   them   more.      When   you   drive   down Zimmerman   trail   or   drive   down   24th   the   environment   differs   on how   you   feel   on   the   road   is   because   of   the   trail   the   landscaping. It's   not   so.   If   you   have   a   hard   surface   it   makes   you   tenser.      We are   trying   to   make   sure   the   roads   are   good   for   people   who   want to   ride   bicycles,   walk   take   transit.      one   of   the   things   we   are working   on   and   I   think   would.   It's   tough   when   it   snows.   Hand shoveling   the   ADA   ramps   at   intersections.   We   are   selling   all   of those   out   recognizing   that   they   are   a   part   of   our   community   that needs   to   get   around   that   struggles.      Especially   in   the   winter   time environment,   we   are   trying   to   figure   out   ways   to   do   that   better.   So everybody   gets   around.      The   community   has   changed   a   lot   for that   better.   We   are   recognizing   that   people   get   around   in   all   kinds of   ways,   not   just   in   a   car.   The   first   real   trails   were   only   14   years ago   so   a   lot   has   happened   in   a   short   period   of   time.   There   is   a recognition    that    especially    by    the    City    Council    the    past    and current   that   if   you   want   professional   or   younger   people   to   come tot   he   community   you   have   to   private   them   with   something   to   do after   work   and   something   to   do   on   weekends.      That   is   where   the trails   start   to   come   in.   In   places   for   people   to   go.   One   of   the   nice things   that   Billings   is   recognized   and   moving   towards.   There   a   lot of   positive   groups   trail   net   works   with   the   city   staff.   Riverstone Health   lots   of   good   organizations   that   work   with   us   to   make   it   a better   place. That   is   one   thing   nice   there   is   not   only   just   inside   the city   organizations   but   outside   organizations   that   work   with   us   and folks     that     are     really     interested     in     the     community.          Shilo conservation   area   we   had   Yellowstone   River   Park   association donated   benches.   Wild   birds   unlimited   put   up   bird's   houses   out there   to   better   attract.      Lots   of   small   business   and   such   has helped us with planting trees benches etc.   JBN:   If   we   come   back   to   topic   about   plowing   streets.   How many   inches   of   snow   should   we   get   that   you   would   start   to plowing? David   Mumford   P.E.:   The   main   road's   arterials   we   start   plowing if   we   think   we   will   get   3   inches.   On   small   residential   local   streets where   this   is   the   first   year   we   have   plowed.      We   are   saying   that from   talking   to   the   council   and   costs   it   has   to   be   over   3   inches between   3.5   to   4   then   we   will   plow   like   we   did   this   last   time..   for the   first   time   plowing   especially   for   the   private   companies   they   did a   very   good   job   on   the   streets.   We   anticipated   6   days   it   took   7.5 but   it   was   their   first   time   and   we   got   almost   15   inches   of   snow which   is   a   lot   to   move   at   once.      Once   we   plowed   it   we   had slippery   street   because   of   the   ice   underneath.      We   are   struggling with   places   to   put   the   snow.   That   was   a   lot   of   snow   to   move.     Moving snow around trying to figure out where to store it. JBN:   Is   there   some   kind   of   schedule   for   plowing   residential streets?   David   Mumford   P.E.:   Residential   we   have      6   areas   the   city   broke out   for   sweeping   so   we   use   that   with   the   contractor   to   move through.   We   started   on   the   south   side   this   last   time   moved   to   the north,   the   heights   and   then   downtown.      The   next   time   we   will reverse   that   order.   We   keep   rotating   it   so   that   nobody   s   always last.      And   then   the   arterials   the   main   road   our   goal   is   to   in   about 36   to   48   hours   and   we   can   plow   everything   to   the   point   where   it's all   driveable.   That   is   our   first   goal   to   plow   everything   and   then   we start   picking   up   the   snow   that's   plowed   to   center   and   at   that   point if   we   can   we   try   to   make   sure   the   trails   are   cleared.   Parks   and   rec helped   us   with   this   last   storm.      We   hopefully   within   24   to   36   hours the   trails   are   plowed   after   the   storm   ends.      Try   to   get   everything going.   there   are   37   people   in   streets   split   into   2   12   hours   shifts there   are   not   a   lot   of   people   working   with   all   the   equipment   and such.      We   did   hire   more   to   do   residential   talking   to   the   council   by the   time   you   bought   all   the   equipment   and   hire   the   people   and   if you   have   winter   with   not   much   snow   so   we   contracted   out.     There are   a   lot   of   construction   companies   with   great   operators   with equipment   sitting   all   winter.   It's   more   effective   than   to   hire   any people.      Use   the   private   sector   when   they   have   great   talent   to help us. Keep people working. JBN:   Last   question   about   the   constructions   what   we   have   on the   streets   every   summer.   Last   year   it   was   on   the   6th   noth street.   What   kind   of   works   you   did   in   that   area   and   what projects do you have for summer 2018? David   Mumford   P.E.:   We   had   water   and   sewer   mains   that   were old   that   we   had   to   replace   so   the   work   there   at   the   division.   For us   was   difficult   it   was   congestive   little   area   to   get   through.   They were   big   pipes   that   were   deep.   They   are   done.      That's   all   done.     We   will   go   confuse   people   somewhere   else   this   summer.      Every year   we   do   about   7   to   8   million   dollars   worth   of   water   and   sewer replacement    to    try    to    keep    up    with    the    system.        We    are engineering where project will be next year.
Johnson’s Billings News
Interview
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David Mumford P.E., man who has his finger on the pulse of the City
Photo by Billings Gazette