The Montana Rural Water Systems has named the manager of Lockwood Water and Sewer District, Mike Ariztia, as “Manager of the Year.” That Ariztia should be recognized as the best manager in the state came as no surprise to people in Lockwood, who have been observing Ariztia’s outstanding achievements over the past nine years that he has served as the district’s manager.

The Lockwood community is fortunate to have Mike as our manager, said Carl Peters, President of the LWSD board of directors. The award was presented last week at the state annual meeting of the Montana Rural Water Systems in Great Falls.

Peters went on to say, “Mike is a thoughtful, fair minded, dedicate, and hardworking manager, with integrity and excellent communication skills and he has a great sense of humor toward his fellow LWSD co-workers, board members and customers, along with the District’s professional advisors and representatives from both state, federal and local governmental agencies.”

Ariztia came to Lockwood in 2015 to serve as manager and was immediately plunged into the $9 million Phase II of the Lockwood Sewer Project, which included 43,000 lineal feet of sewer main and over 600 services to property lines.

Ariztia has worked years with LWSD engineering consultants, Morrison Maierle, for planning and design decisions and with Nittany Grantworks on grant applications to help finance and build several major projects. Among those projects were:

—The $3.5 million upgrade to the Yellowstone River raw water intake in 2017-18 built a new pump station, replaced and added screens, increasing capacity and reliability;

—The $9 million Water Treatment Plant Upgrade completed in 2023, added UV disinfection, two additional filter/ clarifier trains for continued drinking water standards compliance, increased capacity, redundancy and reliability;

—The current $26 million Phase III Wastewater Project which will include 70,000 lineal feet of sewer line to nearly 800 residential properties and to larger undeveloped areas for future residential development;

—Other completed projects include a new “state of the art” dual bulk water station, and the installation of a major loop for the water system to provide a secondary feed to the system’s largest storage facility.

Ariztia is currently working with the Montana Department of Transportation on the redesigned I-90 Johnson Lane Interchange and the Billings Bypass for modifications to the LWSD water and sewer lines under Interstate 90 to a potentially large industrial area which will need water and sewer service.

Ariztia also works with Par Montana on their wastewater needs.


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