Craig: Wastewater plant just keeps on cooking, Potable water treatment plant upgrades nearly finished

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From the Craig Daily Press (Collin Smith):

City officials are in the process of doing minor maintenance updates to the sewage facility, such as a roughly $28,000 roof replacement project, but the plant remains much the same as it was when built in the late 1980s. The biggest change to the plant has been a computer overhaul installed a few years ago, which automated most of the treatment systems, Craig City Engineer Bill Earley said. In the next four to eight years, officials plan to build a third “sludge lagoon” — a large pit filled with sewage after it is separated from water going to the Yampa River — to keep up with growth. Earley said that could cost between $500,000 and $700,000 today, but probably will be more when the city opts to build it…

The wastewater plant only runs at half capacity now, putting out about 1.1 million gallons of sewage a day…“The wastewater plant is in pretty good shape,” Earley said. “It just needs a lot of maintenance.”

Meanwhile, From the Craig Daily Press (Collin Smith):

The Craig City Council approved a roughly $8 million construction project at the plant a few years ago, plus $1 million in design fees to Denver-based engineering firm Tetra Tech, with the intent of doubling the city’s capacity for clean drinking water from 6 million gallons to 12 million gallons a day. Officials hope the project will net enough water output to carry Craig through the next 20 years…

The plant itself has not been without its own problems in recent months. The renovation project came under the City Council’s scrutiny in January, after city staff came forward and said the plant’s new raw water pumps — which bring water into the plant from the Yampa River — seemed to break under normal operating conditions. In February, Mike Rothberg, Tetra Tech senior vice president, told the council that his company made an error in its math when it designed the pumps. Essentially, Tetra Tech engineers neglected to consider pump conditions at high water levels, Rothberg said. Usually, engineers don’t bother with those calculations because high waters are relatively easy to pump since the water doesn’t have to be pushed very far up. In the Craig plant’s case, Tetra Tech’s mistake caused all three pumps to continually break down…

After Rothberg’s presentation, the city council opted to follow his recommendations to retrofit the plant to make the new pumps work within the system, instead of buying new pumps to install at the plant. In his recommendation to council, Rothberg said the city could install a valve that opens and closes on the water line that goes from the pumps to the beginning of the treatment cycle and add a computer system to automate operations. In high water conditions, the valve would close, putting more backpressure into the line and stabilizing the pumps. After researching the various options, city staff agreed Rothberg’s ideas would be the cheapest and easiest way to get the plant running at full capacity. Earley issued a $70,380 purchase order last month to Cortez-based Southwest Contracting, the same company that built the new water plant to Tetra Tech’s designs, to handle the new renovations…

The ultraviolet and dissolved-air flotation filtering systems cannot be fully tested until operators turn the plant up to maximum output, which they cannot do until the pumps are fixed. Once the city gets a look at the new filters in action, there may need to be some tweaks to the system.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

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