Long time coming: Rifle breaks ground on water treatment plant
Citizen Telegram Editor
RIFLE — For more than six years, the city of Rifle has been talking about building a new water treatment plant. And on Thursday afternoon, they finally broke ground.
City Council members, city staff and workers from Moltz Construction, which is building the structure, gathered at the plant site at 100 Hospital Hill Road, just north of Highway 6 & 24.
“For the six years I’ve been on council, this has been talked about the entire time,” said Mayor Randy Winkler. “I’m glad to finally see dirt being moved.”
Planning for the treatment plant began in 2006, and a 3/4-cent sales tax referendum was passed by residents in November 2012 to pay back loans associated with the project.
But in June 2014, bids came in $8 million to $11 million over than what was anticipated and the city decided to take another route. They chose to use the “sole-source” approach, which allows the project costs and available budget to be reconciled, where there are no surprises and the costs are more predictable as the general contractor also acts as the construction manager and helps to decide what and where costs can be cut. Once a package has been put together, the contractors puts a guaranteed cost on it.
The “sole source” method will also allow the city to keep a $25 million low-interest loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to help pay for the plant.
The new Rifle Regional Water Purification Facility will eventually replace two existing facilities — the Graham Mesa WTP and the Beaver Creek WTP. The new treatment plant will have significantly better filtration, improved methods for controlling iron and manganese and more precise disinfection methods, all of which will improve the taste and odor of the city’s drinking water.
The city received a $25 million low-interest loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to help pay for the plant, along with the 3/4-cent sales tax.
Construction on the four-acre site is expected to take 18-24 months with completion expected toward the end of 2016, according to Jim Miller, resident engineer on the project.
In the meantime, residents can see the boom of a very large red crane on the Rifle horizon and look forward to some good, clean drinking water.
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