Runway work may push aside pump house |

Runway work may push aside pump house

Eben Harrell

A planned pump house that would supply water to homes on Owl Creek Road may turn out to be in the way of the airport’s proposed runway extension.

As a result, Pitkin County commissioners and representatives from the Buttermilk Water District, which runs the water system, agreed to split the costs of relocating the pump house if needed. Airport engineers are still studying the site to determine if relocation is necessary. Relocating the pump house would cost an estimated $50,000.

It is not known whether Buttermilk water officials knew of the county’s plan for a runway extension, which is detailed in a recently approved airport master plan, and therefore could have avoided the possibility of relocation. Water district representative Jeff Yusem refused to comment.

“I don’t talk to the press. Everything I say you guys get ass-backward,” Yusem said.

Airport director Jim Elwood also said he could not speculate on whether the potential cost of relocation could have been avoided. He noted that the water district gained FAA approval for the pump house before the airport master plan was approved. But he also conceded that officials from the water district could have read about the runway extension in the proposed master plan.

Elwood said splitting the cost with the water district was a satisfactory result for the county.

“Sometimes, an agreement is best when both sides go away a little unsatisfied,” Elwood told the commissioners.

Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is

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