Future Is Bright With New Wastewater Plant

The City of Cut Bank is poised for economic growth and well positioned to meet ever changing and stringent wastewater regulations with a new, “state of the art” treatment plant. A few side benefits include cold weather resilience, treatment process flexibility and ease of operation.

“It is extremely important to the City that the new plant be able to easily meet current standards and be adaptable to satisfy the more rigorous standards that we know are coming in the future. We must be able to do this in an extremely cold environment.“
Jim Suta, Public Works Director


Heated clarifier cover and buildings provide cold weather protection.

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Community work sessions resulted in a better understanding of treatment alternatives and community goals.

“Infrastructure is the base upon which community economic development and quality of life are built and the new wastewater plant is part of the strong infrastructure foundation we are building here in Cut Bank.”
Dan Raemaeker, Mayor

Previously, the City of Cut Bank operated an aging, 42-acre lagoon system that discharged into Old Maids Coulee and ultimately into Cut Bank Creek. The City’s Montana Pollution Discharge Elimination System (MPDES) permit was renewed in 2012 and the lagoons were not able to satisfy the new permit limits.  In addition, the City is concerned with pending future regulations that are likely to result in even more stringent permit limits for a receiving stream (Old Maids Coulee) with little dilution.

It is equally important to the City that the new plant help the City become a more vibrant community by improving public health, protecting the environment, sustaining existing business and attracting new business.

Multiple reactors of 3-stage BNR process provide the flexibility needed to meet wastewater regulations well into the future.


The Plant is constructed on a small footprint adjacent to the de-commissioned lagoons, saving space and providing for future growth.


In consideration of these needs and to ensure the project was developed in a collaborative manner; the City and Great West Engineering conducted a series of work sessions, public meetings, and plant tours to develop a better understanding of the treatment alternatives available to meet the City’s goals.

Based on the results of these collaborative efforts and the engineering analysis provided by Great West; the City of Cut Bank selected the 3-Stage Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) treatment process. This process includes aeration basins for nitrification, anoxic basins for total nitrogen removal, and anaerobic basins for phosphorous removal. The City preferred this technology because of its process flexibility and the associated ability to be adapted to more restrictive regulations in the future. The completed project will significantly improve wastewater quality discharged to Old Maids Coulee and Cut Bank Creek; protecting public health and the environment.

Because of these many attributes and its innovative features, the plant was the winner of the Montana ACEC Waste and Storm Water Honors Award for 2019. The new plant was commissioned in 2018 on City property adjacent to the existing lagoons. System components include the BNR reactors, screening, grit removal, ultraviolet (UV) disinfection, waste sludge dewatering and handling, and facility instrumentation and control. The total construction cost of the project was $16 million, and the project was funded by several state and federal grant and loan programs including, RD, SRF, TSEP, and DNRC.


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