From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Gary Harmon):
Work to upgrade two sewage treatment lagoons below Powderhorn Mountain Resort could begin soon with state officials monitoring the process closely. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a notice of violation in September to Grand Mesa Metropolitan District No. 2 for concentrations of ammonia in the lagoons that exceeded the limits of the permit for the facility. There are no allegations that the district released polluted water into a nearby stream.
“We did receive the notice and we knew it was coming,” said Larry Beckner, attorney for the district.
The metro district began working about four months ago with Westwater Engineers in Grand Junction to upgrade the lagoons to meet current standards, Beckner said. The 1968 sewage-treatment system was to have been replaced by a new system to accommodate expected growth. That growth, however, hasn’t taken place. The treatment system, meanwhile, was to have been upgraded to meet standards that took effect in July 2010. The permit was administratively continued in 2012, Beckner said.
The current permit for the water-treatment system included a compliance schedule to meet ammonia concentration limits, said Megan Trubhee, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Health and Environment’s Water Quality Control Division.
“The metro district failed to complete those upgrades,” she said.
The district is completing an evaluation of the facility, Trubhee said.
Metropolitan districts are established under state statutes to finance community planning and infrastructure projects, including initial construction of streets and some utilities.
Treated water from the lagoons is discharged into nearby Big Beaver Creek, which runs through pasture and farmland below, Beckner said.
There has been no discussion about whether the health department would levy a fine in the case, Beckner said.
The health department’s primary focus is to work with the district to ensure that compliance with the discharge permit requirements and Colorado’s Water Quality Control Act is achieved in a timely manner and no evaluation of potential penalties had yet been made, Trubhee said.
Violations of the Water Quality Control Act can result in fines of up to $10,000 per day.
More wastewater coverage here.