State notification causesRifle to step up plansfor sewer plant upgrades |

State notification causesRifle to step up plansfor sewer plant upgrades

RIFLE – Responding to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Rifle City Council members passed an emergency ordinance Wednesday night to make improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plants.Plans for an interconnector system between the north and south Rifle were already in the works, but were stepped up with the emergency ordinance in order to come into compliance.The city received a notification by CDPHE on Aug. 4 that the north wastewater treatment plant was currently operating at the 80 to 95 percent capacity limit, in violation of the state code.”The self-reported data indicates that Rifle has not only reached the 80 and 95 percent trigger levels, but also that the organic capacity of the facility has been exceeded on several occasions,” wrote Ginny Torrez of the water quality control division of CDPHE.The letter gave the city until Aug. 25 to respond with remedial actions it is taking.”We’re proposing to construct an interconnector between the two plants,” said City Manager John Hier. “It will run under the river and we will pump a portion (of the waste) from the north plant to the south.”Residents will not see any disruption of service during this time or notice any difference.The cost of the interconnector is expected to cost about $800,000 or more.Increased residential and commercial growth in the city has contributed to the problem as well as the fact that the existing wastewater treatment plants are old. A new wastewater treatment plant is planned to be located at the West UMTRA site.Preliminary design plans have already been drawn up and the city hopes to begin construction in 2007.”The interconnector is a temporary solution,” Hier said. “The city is moving forward to a long-term solution.”When construction of the new plant is complete, residents can expect to see an 80 to 100 percent increase in the sewer portion of their utility bills.

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