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Xcel to study water options

If Xcel Energy wants Hayden water, it will take time, money and manpower. It will not, however, require the town of Hayden to make major structural changes or additions to the water treatment plant, Public Works Director Frank Fox said.

Fox said last week that providing water to the power plant would be a complex project on many levels. In its current state, the water treatment plant is not capable of serving the power plant and future growth. But, Fox said, with some costly upgrades and more staff, the plant could meet all the proposed needs.

The plant runs about eight hours every day, producing about 240,000 gallons of water per day via two pumps and two mixed-media filters. The plant has a third pump that is used as a standby, in case one of the others breaks, and room for a fourth pump and two filters. Running four pumps simultaneously would double water output, Fox said.



Easier said than done, though, Fox said. Getting the two alternate mixed-media filters up and running would cost at least $500,000, he said. And, while the plant is large enough for four pumps and filters, it should not run all simultaneously. Ideally, one pump should be on standby in case another breaks down. However, he noted, the town did not have a standby pump until a couple of months ago when its new treatment facility was completed.

While each pump can produce 500 gallons per minute, the filters can withstand only 400 gallons per minute. With two pumps and two filters running continuously, the plant produces 800 gallons of potable water per minute.



If the plant began operating 24 hours per day without adding more pumps or filters, the plant could produce up to 1.15 million gallons per day, enough to meet the town’s and Xcel’s needs.

“The question we have to ask ourselves is, do we really want to take this on,” Fox said. “It would take at least five guys to keep this place running 24 hours per day. I’m not going to work 365 days a year.”

Adding another pump and filter would be costly but relatively simple in comparison to rebuilding the water treatment facility a second time, Fox said.

“It’s comes down to what the Town Board wants to do,” Fox said.

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 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, Hayden Station Director Frank Roitsch and engineer Steve Dunn.

Roitsch said they were at the meeting to ask whether tapping into town water for their needs was practical. Because of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is raising its 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 and 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 would transfer some of its water rights to the town of Hayden and pay the town for increasing capacity at the town’s water treatment plant.

Fox said it might be possible to serve the power plant with the existing water treatment facility running at full capacity. However, serving the power plant would use capacity intended for the expected growth in several planned subdivisions.

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

— To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com


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