New site rezoned for Rifle water treatment plant |

New site rezoned for Rifle water treatment plant

Mike McKibbin
Citizen Telegram Editor
A preliminary design of Rifle’s planned $25 million water treatment plant at a new site east of Rifle, north of U.S. Highway 6&24. City Council approved rezoning the property and the city will save $2 million by moving the plant to the top of a hill, instead of locating it at the bottom of the hill, to avoid shallow bedrock and excessive groundwater.
City of Rifle graphic |

The City of Rifle will save some $2 million on a new water treatment plant by locating it at the top of a hill instead of the bottom of the hill, City Council was informed in a memo from Planning Director Nathan Lindquist.

The savings comes from avoiding shallow bedrock and excessive groundwater found at the original site, Lindquist wrote.

At its July 16 meeting, City Council approved rezoning the property from developing resources, a “holding” zone that does not permit large-scale development, Lindquist wrote. The site was changed to public zone, which is meant for public facilities such as water plants.

The city abandoned its original site as a result of higher than anticipated and unaffordable bids, Lindquist wrote, partly due to site conditions.

Earlier this year, two bids for the project came in $8 million to $11 million higher than the city engineer’s estimate and the money available to build the plant. Alder Construction, located in Salt Lake City, submitted a base bid of $33.1 million; and PCL Construction, based in Phoenix with an office in Glenwood Springs, submitted a base bid of approximately $36.5 million.

The city received a $25 million low-interest loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to help pay for the plant. Two years ago, Rifle voters approved a 3/4-cent sales tax increase to help repay the loan.

The new site is on top of a hill near the city gravel pit, rather than at the bottom of the hill adjacent to U.S. Highway 6&24. The site will be accessed by a new driveway from “Hospital Hill Road,” or Garfield County Road 194, and the city-owned site is currently surrounded by vacant property, Lindquist’s memo explained. It is about a quarter mile east of the city maintenance shop, on the north side of the highway. The closest residential property is about a quarter mile to the north and the west, Lindquist wrote.

The new site also is more favorable for staging and sequencing work, he noted.

“Most importantly,” Lindquist wrote, “… the site … is one of the few locations in close proximity to the critical corridor of existing and planned piping and the city’s main [water] storage, which makes it economically more favorable than other locations.”

City Council also approved a $200,000 grant application to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Fund to conduct a reverse osmosis and granular activated carbon facility siting and cost study to determine the preferred location and to establish financing requirements. The city would commit a local match of $60,000 in its water fund.

Council also approved a grant application to the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District for a waste impoundment and drying bed facility. It would include the hauling and landfill disposal of treatment plant waste and the conversion of the impoundment into a clay-lined, sand drying bed facility, in accordance with recently adopted state regulations.

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