Cathedral Mountain Ranch

The Cathedral Mountain Ranch is a unique community located in the beautiful Beartooth Mountain Foothills near Nye, Montana. The subdivision contains approximately 300 circle-shaped lots located on roughly 200 acres of land. The lots range in diameter from 100 feet to 110 feet. This distinctive design leaves an abundance of common lands, shared by all cabin owners in the community. The lots provide a building envelope, and the common areas offer trails and land for residents and wildlife to enjoy. The Ranch borders Custer National Forest, affording owners private access to the forest at various points. It also sits adjacent to the Stillwater River, offering access to one of Montana’s premier rivers. The community boasts three stocked mountain lakes, a full-time caretaker, a clubhouse, and a community water system.

Cathedral Mountain Ranch turned to the professionals at Interstate Engineering for assistance with their water supply. The water supply system has one well, two water tanks and a tremendous amount of elevation gain due to the location of the subdivision. The water supply system is owned by the Ranch’s Home Owners Association and is run by the Board of Directors, who contacted Interstate Engineering to help with pressure problems in the system as well as address concerns about redundancy.

The Interstate Engineering team of Bill Enright and Jenson Sannon began work on the system by trying to uncover as much information as they could about the existing water supply system. Unfortunately, the as-built records at the Ranch were incomplete. Only bits and pieces of information were available about what structures existed underground. With assistance from a survey team, residents of the Ranch, and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, an AutoCAD model of the water system was developed. This allowed the system to be placed into the KYPIPE hydraulic model software to determine the best methods for addressing the system’s challenges.

By utilizing the model, a plan was developed that would add a water main to the system, add a third tank for additional storage, install a chlorine disinfection system, add a pumping station, and add a pressure reducing valve. Because the homeowners association runs the water system, a public bidding process was not required. Interstate Engineering reached out to several contractors for construction cost estimates. In the end, the anticipated construction costs were higher than the Ranch was comfortable spending on the upgrades. They asked Interstate Engineering to provide value engineering on the project. Plans were changed to eliminate the new water main and move the pumping station to a higher elevation. The new water tank was still included in the project. Oltrogge Construction is using the updated engineering plans to complete the project.

It was Interstate Engineering’s pleasure to be able to aid this small water system with their project and provide the flexibility required to match the needs of their system with the economics of the project. We understood their need to make changes to the project, as the initial project did not meet budgeting requirements. We will continue to work with the Cathedral Mountain Ranch to provide the engineering needed for the small water system.