Xcel seeks use of town water | SteamboatToday.com

Xcel seeks use of town water

EPA rule may force Hayden Station to modify its power plant

Whether the town of Hayden will supply Hayden Station with potable water is still up for discussion, but the Hayden Town Board showed enough support Thursday night to encourage the power plant’s engineers to further study the possibility of using town water and the requirements such a measure would entail.

Xcel Energy, the company that owns and operates Hayden Station, had two representatives at the meeting, including Hayden Station Director Frank Roitsch and Engineer Steve Dunn.

Roitsch said they were at the meeting to ask if tapping into town water for Hayden Station’s needs was practical. Because the Environmental Protection Agency is raising its water quality standards, Roitsch said Hayden Station has to make changes to comply with the standards for its potable water.

Hayden Station uses 250 acre-feet (81.5 million gallons) of water for potable uses annually. Dunn reported that to meet the new standards, the power plant would have to make major modifications.

“We’re looking at quite a bit of money to revamp our plant,” Dunn said. “We want to compare costs of working with the town (to) doing it ourselves.”

Dunn said he was not looking for an immediate answer, but the plant does have to meet the new EPA requirements in 2004, so an answer is needed soon.

According to an Xcel report, the theoretical plan of tapping into town water would involve running a 4-inch waterline from the east end of Yampa Valley Regional Airport to the Hayden Station water treatment building. Xcel then would have to transfer some of its water rights to the town of Hayden, and Xcel would provide money to the town for increasing capacity at the town’s water treatment plant.

Hayden Public Works Director Frank Fox said providing water to the power plant would be a complex project. Not only would the water treatment facility have to be expanded, but the plant would have to run 24 hours a day and the town would have to hire more operators to work at the facility, Fox said. The water treatment plant currently runs only eight hours a day.

Fox said it might be possible to serve the plant now with the water treatment facility running at full capacity, but then it would not be able to pump enough water for the expected growth in several planned subdivisions.

Several Town Board members wanted more information, so Dunn said Xcel would continue to explore the concept.

In other business:

n Rebecca Rolando, of Citizens to Save Our Public Lands, requested that the Town Board draft a letter, similar to one drafted by the Oak Creek Town Board about a month ago, to oppose a land exchange between the Bureau of Land Management, the Colorado State Land Board and the Emerald Mountain Partnership. Trustee Joe Schminkey said he agreed with Rolando, saying he did not see any benefits for Hayden from the exchange. Schminkey said the exchange would hurt the town by taking away hunting lands that provide the town with tax revenues. Mayor Pro Tempore Chencho Salazar agreed that public lands in Hayden are a valuable asset to the town. But, because trustees Ken Gibbon, Tim Frentress and Mayor Chuck Grobe were absent, the board decided to wait until a full board was present before making a formal decision.

— To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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