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Phippsburg may get water upgrade

County studying options for improving filtration system

Gary E. Salazar

— Routt County is proposing to improve the Phippsburg Water Treatment Plant next year, which could have a financial impact on users.

The county is examining options that would improve the plant’s water filtration system and clear up the water’s light brown color during the spring runoff.

“The water is safe,” said Commissioner Doug Monger. “But it might not look exactly crystal clear.”

The county is studying two options to improve the 20-year-old water plant. To upgrade the plant’s filtration system, increase water supply and expand the building, the county is looking at a cost of $165,000.

To treat the water’s color during the spring runoff, the county has estimated it would cost an additional $81,000, which would increase the project cost to $246,000.

Before the county meets with Phippsburg residents, which is anticipated in February, officials are working on what the operational and maintenance costs would be annually for the improvements.

Once armed with this information, county officials will be able to provide residents with estimates on how much it would cost to fund the improvements.

To pay for the improvements, the county anticipates increasing user fees, along with seeking grants and loans, said Michael Zopf, county environmental health director.

“So much will depend on the grants and loans,” Zopf said. “We do have $100,000 in our reserves, but we don’t want to decimate that entirely. Whatever funding we go with, there will be local contribution.”

The county started to focus on the water plant after tests in 1999 showed surface substances were infiltrating the water supply.

Further tests in 2000 confirmed the infiltration, which prompted the county to start examining ways to improve the facility, Zopf said.

The county did not examine another possible water source for the area because that had been done 20 years ago.

“The water is pretty good,” Zopf said. “We just have to put in the filtration system.”

Earlier this month, county officials met with about 35 Phippsburg residents to discuss the project. County officials were encouraged by what they heard from residents regarding the improvements.

“We have to protect the water source and public health,” Zopf said. “We will try and do it as inexpensively as we can, but public health comes first.”

To reach Gary Salazar call 871-4205

or e-mail gsalazar@steamboatpilot.com


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