Breckenridge sewer plant to see expansion
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. ” Anticipated growth in the resort area of Breckenridge, Colo. is driving a $34 million expansion of its wastewater-treatment plant.
The project is to be financed through the Breckenridge Sanitation District’s tap fees.
“This will be paid for by cash already paid by customers. Nobody’s taxes are going up. We don’t have taxes,” said Andy Carlberg, district manager.
The expansion ” slated to occur next spring ” will increase plant capacity by 2 million to 4.99 million gallons per day to meet growth projections for the next five to 10 years, he said.
“We are now over committed capacity,” Carlberg said. “Even though we don’t have the flow coming into our plants at capacity, we have sold more tap fees than our plants are rated at.”
The district has sold about 15,800 single-family equivalents, but the present plant is rated for only 15,000 units. Carlberg said that though this is a sign of needed expansion, the sewers aren’t in danger of failure.
“We’re nowhere near violating any conditions of our permit,” he said. “(We’ve) always been very proactive to ensure that we never fail.”
The two new buildings are to total about 43,000 square feet, built north of the present structure near the intersection of Highway 9 and Swan Mountain Road. Together, they may appear slightly larger than the present facility, Carlberg said.
The public may comment on such aspects as color, height and other building details ” as well as environmental concerns, he said.
An environmental assessment, completed in August, found no negative impacts to wildlife, vegetation, historic resources or water and air quality, according to the project’s engineering report.
“The proposed project will benefit the environment in that future waste water flows generated in the (district) service area can be safely treated to … protect the environment and human health,” according to the report.
Carlberg said the plant’s location requires indoor facilities.
“In warmer climates, you can put most of this stuff outside,” he said. “Not in Summit County.”
He said a proposal to build a pumpback project ” a plan to recycle water back upstream that the district’s board voted down last year ” would not have affected the need for capacity expansion.
“We would have had to build a plant anyway,” he said.
The $34 million price tag came in much higher than the $20 million anticipated, but Carlberg said recent declines in oil, steel and concrete prices could save the district some money.
“We’re not going to get a bidding climate like this for a long time,” he said.
The engineering report is available at the district’s website at http://www.breckenridgesanitation.org. Public comment may be submitted to the district in writing or at the Thursday, Dec. 4 meeting at 6 p.m. at 1605 Airport Road in Breckenridge.
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The city of Aspen’s land use code says that only single-family homes can be built on lots smaller than 6,000 square feet in certain neighborhoods. That might change if Aspen City Council allows a proposed change that allows multi-family buildings to be developed.