Carbondale wins water case |

Carbondale wins water case

Staff Report

Ninth District Judge Thomas Ossola ruled Tuesday in favor of the town of Carbondale in its lawsuit against Crystal Valley landowner Gary Snook, regarding claims of past and potential future contamination of the town’s main water supply.

The written order came four weeks after a bench trial before Judge Ossola in Glenwood Springs.

Ossola upheld the town’s Watershed Protection Ordinance, and sided with the town on nuisance and negligence claims stemming from a pair of incidents in June 2001 when construction workers on Snook’s 55-acre Hanging Valley Ranch accidentally dumped dirt into Nettle Creek.

The incidents caused an emergency shutdown of the town’s water plant, located less than a mile downstream.

After investigating, town officials also became concerned about pollution from past and potential future use of chemical herbicides on the ranch property.

Ossola’s order bars GSS Properties LLC, Snook’s corporation, from earthmoving on his property without first taking proper measures to control erosion.

The order also bans Snook from storing, using or disposing of herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers “in any manner that may pollute the town’s water supply.”

Ossola also ordered Snook to pay more than $8,300 in damages to the town to compensate for the repair of the main water line, which ruptured during the plant shutdown.

Carbondale’s attorney in the case, Mark Hamilton, told town trustees Tuesday he expects Snook, through his attorneys, Joe Edwards and Thomas Hill, to appeal the decision within the allotted 45-day period.

Snook, the founder of Performance Bicycles, has also countersued the town in U.S. District Court in Denver, alleging the town has singled him out in enforcement of its Watershed Protection Ordinance.

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