Glenwood plans new sewage plant | AspenTimes.com

Glenwood plans new sewage plant

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Flush the toilet in 2012 and it could go to West Glenwood Springs instead of blocks from downtown. So could the smell.

In fact there would probably be no odor, given the upgrades in technology that have occurred since Glenwood’s existing plant near downtown was designed in the late 1970s.

The city recently signed a nearly $1 million contract for the design of a new wastewater treatment plant’s design and installation of infrastructure. The local firm of Schmueser, Gordon and Meyer, and a Front Range firm, Rothberg, Tamburini and Winsor ,will work together on the plans, according to city engineer Mike McDill. A cost estimate for the whole project came in at around $35 million, McDill said.

“I’m pretty sure it’s the most expensive single project that the city has undertaken,” he said.

By the end of the year, plans for connecting pipelines from the current plant location to the new site should be in place. Construction on pipelines and their infrastructure could begin next year, while construction on the plant itself would probably begin by 2010 and finish in 2012 if all goes well, McDill said.

The site for the plant is the old Cardnell property that burned down during the Coal Seam Fire south of the Colorado River near the west end of town. The plant would be partially shielded from view by an embankment near the railroad tracks, McDill said.

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Moving the treatment plant away from downtown Glenwood would open up valuable space near the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers that the city is looking at developing under its confluence plan. It would also increase treatment capacity from about 1.8 million gallons per day to about 2.6 million gallons per day in anticipation of future growth. The current plant runs at about 1.2 million gallons per day. Design work will also include plans for an additional phase to further increase capacity in the future. The new plant would also allow many people living along Midland Avenue who are on septic tanks to hook in to a centralized sewer system.

Buddy Burns, superintendent of water and wastewater treatment, said the plant has outlived its usefulness. The effluent it discharges into the river is generally good, Burns said, but there have been some problems meeting requirements for ammonia discharges. The plant wasn’t designed with reducing ammonia discharges in mind because it wasn’t a restriction at the time, he added.

“The plant does really well other than reducing ammonia,” Burns said, adding that it passes other test parameters by fairly large margins.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment included a compliance schedule with a newly issued discharge permit that says Glenwood must build the new plant by 2014, according to Burns and McDill.

In February, Burns was awarded the 2006 Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator of the Year Award by the Colorado Rural Water Association. He said the new plant would be more interesting to operate because it would include activated sludge technology that allows for more control compared to the current plant’s rotating biological contactor technology.

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