Phippsburg water rates rising in ’09 |

Phippsburg water rates rising in ’09

Quarterly increase to help pay for infrastructure projects

Melinda Dudley

Phippsburg residents will see their quarterly water and sewer bills rise $6 in 2009, in part because of expensive infrastructure projects Routt County had to undertake this year.

In addition to an emergency $100,000 water main replacement last summer, the county also made about $500,000 in upgrades to the Phippsburg Wastewater Treatment Facility, Routt County Environmental Health Department Director Mike Zopf said Friday.

The rate increases will affect the roughly 120 homes the county serves in the Phippsburg area. Customers will see their $94 quarterly water bill go up to $97, and their $72 accompanying sewer charge will increase to $75.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved the rate increases as part of the county’s 2009 budget, which was officially adopted Monday.

Phippsburg is not the only South Routt community experiencing utility rate hikes next year.

After rates stagnated for six years, the Oak Creek Town Board raised water and sewer rates by about 50 percent for 2009, from $55 to $83 for residential customers. Trash and electric rates also went up in Oak Creek, though to a lesser degree.

The town of Yampa is poised to raise its utility rates next month. The 2009 budget approved earlier this month by the Yampa Town Board assumes a $9 increase to the town’s combined water-sewer bills, from $46 to $55 a month. The Town Board still has to formally approve the increases, and it will address them at its Jan. 7 meeting.

In order to comply with state standards, the Phippsburg Wastewater Treatment Facility’s original sand-filter system, installed in 1976, was replaced with constructed wetlands, the first system of its type in Routt County, Zopf said. The effluent wastewater ultimately is discharged into the Yampa River after treatment.

The county is seeking funds from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to help offset the costs of the plant renovations, which began in April and were completed only a few weeks ago, Zopf said.

Water use in Phippsburg was put under voluntary restrictions in July and August because of a leak in the community’s water supply line that was draining its only well. The voluntary conservation order asked residents to avoid activities such as washing their cars and watering their lawns until a temporary line could be installed underneath the railroad tracks.

Water use was allowed to return to normal after the temporary line was in place, and repairs to the permanent water main also were completed this fall, Zopf said.

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