From The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Jeff Rice):
Like many small towns across Colorado, Peetz has been told by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that their sewage lagoons are leaking contaminants into the groundwater and must be replaced or remediated. The decision is based on a calculation of how much wastewater flows into the lagoons, how much evaporation takes place on a monthly basis, and how much water is left in the lagoons. It’s clear from that calculation that more water is flowing in than is evaporating, so the water can only be leaking out the bottom.
The trustees don’t argue that their sewage lagoons are seeping water into the ground underneath them, but they want proof that it’s actually doing harm. They reason that, being more than 150 feet above groundwater, the seepage is cleaned adequately in the earth, sand, and gravel that it percolates through.
It’s not just a stubborn streak in small town folk that’s driving their argument. Although Peetz doesn’t yet have any real numbers on the cost of new lagoons, they know that Fleming has priced theirs at more than $2.5 million. With diminishing assistance from state and federal agencies to pay for that kind of project, Fleming officials already know they’ll have to at least double sewer rates for a population that is largely on fixed income.