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Town of Bayfield working to start on new sewer plant
1/4/2008 By: Carole McWilliams
Bayfield is now jumping through all the assorted hoops needed to be able to build a new sewage treatment plant in 2008. Construction is supposed to start in late spring.
As 2007 ended, Town Manager Justin Clifton was savoring the approval of a congressional “earmark” for $400,000 to help pay for the $6 million plant.
The earmark was included in a $555 billion spending bill approved by congress in December and signed by the president on Dec. 26. It was sponsored by Congressman John Salazar and Senators Ken Salazar and Wayne Allard.
In addition to that, the town has $600,000 to $700,000 transferred from the now dissolved Bayfield Sanitation District; $1.4 million from state Energy Impact grants; $300,000 Community Development Block Grant; and $5 million loan from the Colorado Water and Power Authority.
The sanitation district board held its last meeting on Dec. 17 and approved a dissolution resolution.
Board member Dennis Hillyer commented, “I’m taking pleasure in the fact that I had a hand in getting rid of an unnecessary level of government.”
On Dec. 18, town trustees approved three ordinances and two resolutions to implement transfer of sanitation district assets, liabilities, state operating permits, duties, contracts, construction plans and the funding to pay for it to the town.
One ordinance deals, among other things, with how sewer taps are issued and line extensions handled.
It gives the town authority to determine the number of equivalent residential taps (ERTs) a new customer must pay for, and to re-assess the number of ERTs an existing commercial customer has.
For now, the schedule for determining ERTs will stay the same as what the district had, town attorney Dirk Nelson said.
As for line extensions, Nelson said that for out of town areas that have been part of the district (i.e. the Gem Village area), extensions and hook-ups won’t be used as a tool to force annexation into Bayfield. But other areas that want service will be expected to annex.
Another ordinance makes the sewer system a self-supporting government enterprise not subject to state TABOR limits on revenue and spending.
One resolution sets tap fees and monthly rates the same as what the district was charging, but subject to change. Tap fees are now $6,000 in town and $3,500 for Gem Village. The Gem Village fee is likely to be the same as in town, once their sewage starts being piped to the new Bayfield plant.
The engineer designing the new plant was at the Dec. 17 and 18 meetings. Greg Woodward said design work was around 80 percent done. He added, “I want to get this to 95 percent by the end of the month.”
He said it’s likely to take state officials 60 to 90 days to approve the new plant application.
Clifton clarified to the Times that the application already has been submitted to the state, but they are likely to have questions, want more details, or want something changed.
It will probably take around 30 days to compile the rest of the information for the application, before the state asks for it, he said.
Once the town knows any changes to the designs and specs will be minor and low cost, he thinks the project can go out for bid before the plant application is approved.
The project also needs an environmental assessment that Woodward said should be done in March or April, and a county class 2 land use permit.
The town originally had to award the contract by Apr. 25 to satisfy a state compliance schedule to have the new plant under construction, which can include awarding the construction contract.
Clifton told the Times he has state approval to move that back to May 31 for an extra margin of safety.
Woodward said construction is expected to take 10 months, plus one month for start-up, to get the biological processes going in the new plant. He estimates it will start operation in February 2009.
Clifton hopes that with the grants, there will be enough money to also build a transmission line and lift station to get sewage from Gem Village and the Homestead subdivision to the new plant instead of expanding or replacing the small Gem Village treatment plant.
That line and lift station are likely to cost around $1 million.
Aside from getting state and county permits for the new Bayfield plant, Clifton reported last month to both the town and sanitation boards on a hang-up buying a small amount of land for access from East East Court, the dead-end street south of the old school gym.
Clifton uttered the C word - condemnation - as a possibility. “I don’t think our current access is viable for construction or long-term,” he told sewer directors.
Town Public Works Director and sewer plant operator Ron Saba said he wants a road there as of Apr. 25.
This week Clifton told the Times, “We are in negotiation with the owners for a potential road alignment. … It was a very good meeting with the landowners.”