Major renovations in the works for wastewater plant |

Major renovations in the works for wastewater plant

Chad Abraham

Aspen’s wastewater treatment plant will undergo $7 million in renovations next year to address shortcomings in infrastructure.Plans also call for storing millions of gallons of water for use in the treatment process. The water could be recycled for the Aspen golf course, Burlingame lawns and snowmaking.In addition, a fourth aeration basin and a new maintenance garage will be built, and improvements in flow equalization are planned to improve efficiency, said Tracy Dillingham, the facility’s director.The sanitation district’s capital reserves will fund the improvements, which are likely to take two years.”The reason for the upgrades basically came out of a comprehensive performance evaluation,” Dillingham said.The analysis, completed last year, showed the plant’s design capacity was not as large as previous estimates of 3 million gallons a day. The evaluation by Boulder-based JVA Consulting Engineers found the facility could process only 1.8 million gallons a day, Dillingham said.The renovations are expected to address that issue, along with reducing what have traditionally been highly variable flows. Peak flows during the winter and summer typically happen from 10 a.m. to noon, and again between 6 and 8 p.m.”During these peak times, the facility can see momentary flows of several million gallons,” Dillingham said. “At night our flows idle down to only several hundred thousand gallons. This variability in flows causes problems for our ability to control the biological treatment process.”The new aeration basin will also help the facility process high flows. The renovations come as the district prepares to serve several new hotels and lodges in Aspen, as well as the Burlingame housing development west of town.The ponds the treatment process once used can store 3 million gallons of “reuse” water. The remainder of the treated water that the golf course, lawns or snowmaking don’t use will be released into the Roaring Fork River.A new building for the final filter and disinfection processes is also planned. State-of-the-art technology involving ultraviolet rays will make disinfection much safer for employees and the environment, Dillingham said. The current process uses potentially hazardous chlorine bleach and sulfur dioxide gas.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is

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