Milner and Phippsburg slated to get new wastewater treatment projects finished by fall 2024 |

Milner and Phippsburg slated to get new wastewater treatment projects finished by fall 2024

Milner and Phippsburg wastewater treatment systems will be updated for the first time in a project slated to wrap up in fall 2024.
Routt County Environmental Health/Courtesy photo

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that Milner has been experiencing an increased amount of infiltration and inflow of groundwater, and to clarify information regarding arsenic testing levels at the Phippsburg location.

The Phippsburg and Milner wastewater treatment facilities are set to wrap up construction on updated systems by fall 2024 and will rack up a bill in the ballpark of $7.5 million.

Routt County Environmental Health Director Scott Cowman stressed to county commissioners on Monday, May 1, that the projects addressing these these much-needed updates remain on track. 

“Both of these systems are at or nearing the end of their lives,” Cowman told commissioners. 

Cowman explained to commissioners that dollar amounts are malleable while the county continues to calculate costs for the wastewater systems. These costs can’t be finalized until the amount of funding the project will get from the state revolving fund and the Department Local Affairs is known.

Each of the current systems has its own set of issues with lagoon linear seepage problems, an inability to treat ammonia and a need for updated collection systems. According to Cowman, it was actually the seepage issue in Phippsburg that prompted the projects.

Milner has been experiencing an increased amount of infiltration and inflow of groundwater to the Milner location. This causes issues because an influx of water in septic systems can lead to it exceeding its hydraulic capacity, impacting the system’s ability to treat the water.

Cowman said that Milners has been issued site location approval but Phippsburg has not. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Water Quality Control Commission came up with a new and very low standard for arsenic and this is impacting the Phippsburg location.

“We don’t have the technology to detect levels that are that low, or to treat them,” Cowman said. 

This is creating some challenges for the permitting unit, but Cowman anticipates acquiring the permitting at some point. 

“I don’t know the timeline, but I don’t expect it to be too long — it won’t hold anything up,” Cowman said of the arsenic-related delay in Phippsburg.

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Cowman explained these issues would cost more time and money to address individually, as opposed to just replacing the whole system. 

The Milner wastewater system will move from its location to a site near the train tracks in Milner to get it out of the floodplain where it presently sits.

Currently, Milner’s system is projected to cost around $3.5 million to redo, and Phippsburg’s cost will be $4 million. Both of these amounts are subject to change. The county has put $1.45 million toward Milner’s project and $2 million toward the Phippsburg project.

The Milner wastewater treatment will serve about 220 residents through 132 service connections and three commercial connections. Phippsburg’s will serve 250 residents through 108 service connections.

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