Red Cliff gets $2 million for wastewater plant

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From the Vail Daily (Chris Outcalt):

“What I’m being told is that this is a done deal, we’re getting the $2 million,” [Ramon Montoya, Red Cliff’s mayor] said. “I don’t know what could possibly stop it at this point.” The town has gotten a few grants the past few years, but the $2 million puts it close enough to the $5 million needed to fix the collection system and the plant. Montoya is actually starting to think about when work on the project might begin…

Red Cliff regularly exceeds the capacity of its current sewer- and water-treatment facility and has repeatedly been cited by the state of Colorado for discharges into the Eagle River. One of the biggest problems with the facility, said Montoya, is that water is seeping into the sewer lines. “We’re basically taking in ground water,” he said. “We’re doubling the amount of stuff we’re sending through the plant.”

Meanwhile two El Paso County wastewater operations have received notices of violation from the state, according to R. Scott Rappold writing for the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

Paint Brush Hills and Cherokee metropolitan districts operate lagoon plants, an older method of treating sewage. Sewage is stored in ponds, where aeration and chemical processes remove contaminants. Paint Brush Hills’ plant serves about 12,000 customers in the Falcon area. Cherokee serves about 18,000 just east of Colorado Springs. Neither district’s violations were connected with threats to drinking wells or aquatic life.

In the more recent violation, by Paint Brush Hills, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on May 5 ordered the district to make improvements to its plant or face fines of up to $10,000 a day. According to the violation notice, the plant exceeded monthly average limits on the release of biochemical oxygen demand – the amount of dissolved oxygen in water – in seven months since January 2008. The plant also violated fecal coliform standards in December 2007 and chlorine standards in January 2009 and lacked enough pH, or acidity, in releases in August 2008. The releases were into an unnamed tributary of Black Squirrel Creek. The violation notice requires the district to submit plans for improvements to the plant and to have construction completed by Dec. 31, 2010, or show an engineer’s report proving releases from the plant were anomalies and pollution levels can be controlled by the facility…

In the other recent violation, Cherokee Metropolitan District was fined $80,082 in April for discharges of chlorine, organic compounds and fecal coliform into the East Fork of Sand Creek from 2006 to 2008. District manager Kip Petersen said hot temperatures caused similar problems with Cherokee’s lagoons, which led to the highest fines the district has paid the state. “They’re allowing me to pay it over three years, so that was generous of them. Still it’s a big nut and that really bothered me,” said Petersen. “I just felt it was a large penalty for something that was not necessarily within our control.” Cherokee is building a new sewage treatment plant, expected to be running next year, which uses machines, not ponds, to decontaminate sewage.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

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