Basalt council stays out of sewer-plant dispute
The Basalt Sanitation District failed Monday to enlist the Town Council’s support for a sewage-treatment plant expansion that has become a political hot potato in the midvalley.
The sanitation district goes before the Eagle County commissioners on Monday, Jan. 25, with a proposal to potentially double its sewage treatment plant capacity from its current 400,000 gallons per day.
Failure to win approval will essentially shut down the issuance of building permits in town. The sanitation district placed a moratorium on new sewer hookups on Dec. 9.
The moratorium is needed, according to the district’s board of directors, because if all taps that are sold were added to existing service, the plant would be at capacity.
The moratorium, though only six weeks old, has already prevented some people from developing residential and commercial property that was approved some time ago. The town government won’t issue building permits to anyone without a sewer hookup.
The sanitation district board will listen Wednesday night to hardship applications for hookups, but there are no guarantees additional taps will be available. The Basalt Town Council was informed last night that the sanitation district’s engineers were re-examining plant capacity to see if anything can be done for the hardship cases.
If the plant expansion is approved, construction would begin this year. However, the proposal is opposed by a state advisory agency, the Eagle County planning staff and the local county planning commission due to environmental and regional planning concerns.
The sanitation district was hoping to gather support from the Basalt Town Council as an advisory agency. However, the majority of the board members decided they don’t have enough information to take an educated position.
The council did decide to keep poking around the possibility of taking over the sanitation district’s operations. The council will soon decide whether to undertake a $20,000 feasibility study on consolidation.
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