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10/12/2017 Sewage plant: “We have a problem”
In public meeting last Thursday, the Board of Directors for the Round Mountain Water and Sanitation District again turned their attention to the Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) to be submitted to the US Department of Agriculture, establishing a plan for upgrading the sub-standard waste water treatment lagoons on the north edge of Westcliffe. “This is the preliminary first step,” said the District’s Manager, George Medaris; “it proves we have a problem and a proposal for fixing it.” The PER has been developed over the last few months by SGM Engineering, Randy Sackett being the lead engineer in the project. The focus of the proposal as it now stands is to replace the aerated lagoon system with a mechanical plant and ground water discharge alternative. When submitted, the PER is also used to secure funding for the rebuilding. While there will be the usual expected delays due to extensive review and approval procedures, the Board is hoping for an expedited process enabling the District to be up and running with the new treatment facility by February, 2019. The several steps along the way include the refinement of costs, which as of last Thursday were projected to be $4,886,068, including contingencies. The District’s desire, according to Sackett, “is to have a small, modest, and efficient” plant addressing current needs, as well as future needs. The wastewater system currently processes 90,000 gallons of effluvium per day, and will be upgraded to the capacity of 140,000 gallons per day. “There will be some negotiating, of course,” Medaris points out, “and some technological matters will emerge, but the sooner we get the PER submitted, the sooner the process starts.” The Board is especially hopeful about the success of the proposal and its eventual funding, as the USDA program reviewing the District’s submission is designed for rural communities like the one Round Mountain serves: less than 5000 people, economically challenged, and in need of rehabilitating aging facilities. In other business the District Board addressed budget adjustments and planning; a budget workshop will be held later in October, and the budget will be presented at the December meeting. The next regularly scheduled Board meeting will convene Thursday, November 2 at 5:15 p.m. in the Third Street Art Gallery ground floor conference room; the public is always encouraged to attend. Questions and concerns can always be addressed to Round Mountain at 783-2604 during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. -W.A. Ewing