Residences at The Little Nell manager: Sewage leak is fixed |

Residences at The Little Nell manager: Sewage leak is fixed

Managers at a luxury condominium building at the base of Aspen Mountain believe they have finally found and repaired leaks that polluted the city’s stormwater system with sewage last spring.

“This has been quite the process,” said Alyson Gish, general manager of the Residences at The Little Nell. “It did take a lot of resources and a lot of dollars to fix.”

The search for the leak took months and also turned up other issues that needed fixing, Gish said. But in the end, building maintenance workers sealed a sewage ejector pit in the building’s basement they believe was leaking into pipes connected to the stormwater system, she said.

Building officials have submitted a report to the city and are waiting for it to be approved, Gish said. Costs of the search and fix range in the tens of thousands of dollars, Gish said.

A representative of the building notified the city of an odor in late February or early March, Gish said. Not long after, The Aspen Times ran an article about the sewage stink that was particularly bad in the area near the fountain popular with children across from the Wheeler Opera House and along Durant Street at the base of Aspen Mountain.

Officials from the city and the Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District initially thought the odor was the result of decaying organic matter that washed into the stormwater system during the winter and spring. However, the city conducted tests, which turned up E. coli and fecal coliform in city storm sewers and the wetlands at Rio Grande Park.

They were then able to track the sewage back to the Residences at The Little Nell building.

“This property is only seven years old,” Gish said. “We really didn’t anticipate a failure of this magnitude.”

April Long, the city’s stormwater manager, said earlier this week she has the report and was in the process of reviewing it. After that, she said she will forward it to state officials, who must approve it, as well.

Once that occurs, the city will allow the building to reconnect to the stormwater system, Long said.

Long said city officials will talk about whether to fine or otherwise punish the Residences at The Little Nell, which is managed by Aspen Skiing Co.

Gish said building officials will conduct biweekly tests on the system for the next year to make sure the pollution problem has been fixed.

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