Rifle’s Beaver Creek Water Treatment Plant shuts down
Western Garfield County Staff
RIFLE ” The Beaver Creek Water Treatment Plant shut down Wednesday after inspectors from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment discovered a serious problem there.
The problem will not significantly impact people in Rifle and there is no need to boil water to purify it.
The CDHE also required the city of Rifle to mail a Tier 1 drinking water warning to everyone who uses Rifle drinking water. Tier 1 is the mildest form of notice the CDHE requires. The notice explains that inspectors discovered a hole in the exterior cinderblock wall of the water holding tank. The hole may have allowed contaminants and potential disease-causing organisms to get into the tank.
Tests have not shown any evidence that the water has been contaminated, said Bill Sappington, Rifle public works director. The CDHE required increased chlorine levels, which Sappington said has been done.
“They only required an increase of one part per million, which is really minor,” he said.
The Beaver Creek plant has been shut down and disconnected from the rest of the water system until repairs can be completed and inspected. Sappington estimates the Beaver Creek plant will be out of commission between three weeks and a month.
The temporary loss of the Beaver Creek plant will not cripple Rifle’s water treatment system. The plant generally produces less than one sixth of the city’s water supply, Sappington said. And the plant is not used at all when the water level in Beaver Creek is low or contains too much sediment.
If water consumption is high and the weather gets hot and dry, the Graham Mesa Water Treatment Plant, which draws water from the Colorado River, may not be able to handle the demand. In that case, Rifle city manager John Hier said people may be asked to conserve water.
Hier said the first level of conservation would include voluntary “even-odd” conservation, where people with odd-numbered addresses only water their lawns on odd calendar days.
Sappington said the city has a $350,000 grant for improvements on the Beaver Creek Water Treatment Plant. The improvements include making the plant automated so it can run without manpower, allowing the plant to be in operation more often. The contract is out for bids and the city will decide on a contractor Sept. 13.
“This was unfortunate,” Sappington said. “But we’ll take care of it and we’ll make some changes and the plant will be in better shape.”
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UPDATE: Both westbound lanes and one eastbound lane of Interstate 70, according to a 12:20 a.m. update from Garfield County.