City water plant readies for future |

City water plant readies for future

John Colson

Work crews are just about done with some $1.6 million in improvements and renovations to the Aspen water treatment facilities above Castle Creek.

According to water department Supervisor Phil Overeynder, there is only one more major project to complete before the facilities will be in shape to meet the town’s needs for the next two or three decades without a hitch.

That last project, which will basically double the capacity of the water department’s reservoir adjacent to the treatment plant, is still in the initial planning stages, Overeynder said. It is expected to be done sometime in the next five years.

Overeynder said his department has been working on the list of improvements for several years, and that they have included everything from upgrading the city’s aging west treatment plant to renovating office space for department personnel.

The west plant is one of two distinct treatment plants at the site. The west plant was built in the 1960s while a newer east plant was built in the mid-1980s to expand the capacity of the system and provide a backup in case of failure of the older plant. It was discovered in the late 1980s, however, that the new plant had never functioned as designed, and it had to be rebuilt.

Overeynder said the west plant renovation involved the installation of new water treatment controls and replacement of “rusting pipes and equipment” that had essentially been in place and operating for nearly 30 years.

With both plants now operating at full capacity, he said, there should be no need for anything but routine maintenance for 20 to 30 years. That maintenance will include replacement of filtration materials every 10 years or so, he said.

Another big part of the recently completed work, he said, was the construction of new administrative offices above the east plant, and the renovation of the former administrative office to make room for personnel who had been working at other sites around the city.

This office construction cost about $800,000, he said.

Another big-ticket item, he said, was repair to the roofs of both water plants, which he said had sprung some serious leaks. The roof repairs cost a total of $200,000, he said.

As part of the treatment system, the department stores and uses large tanks of chlorine gas, which is highly toxic and has been the subject of a variety of emergency-preparedness plans.

To offset the hazard to nearby neighborhoods, Overeynder said, the city bought a chlorine “scrubber” designed to attach to the exhaust system and “neutralize” the toxic gases. That project, he said, cost approximately $120,000, including the cost of building a shed to store the scrubber.

In addition, the water department built a $160,000 storage building for equipment owned by both the water and electric departments – equipment that had been deteriorating because it was stored outside in the elements.

“Now, we’ve got essentially a new facility with a 30-year lifespan to it,” he said. The only work remaining to be done, he said, is some minor landscaping, roofing and “finish work,” which he said should be completed soon.

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