Rifle summer water restrictions should lessen with new plant
Citizen Telegram Editor
Summer watering restrictions — such as those now in place for Rifle residents and businesses — should be less frequent, once the city’s new $25 million water treatment plant is finished.
City Utility Director Dick Deussen said the new plant will be able to process more water, so high summer demands should be met more often.
“Now, if the [Colorado River] water levels get too low, we might still need restrictions,” he added. “But we shouldn’t need to go on restrictions as often due to demand.”
As of Monday, July 8, Rifle residents and businesses were asked to follow an odd-even yard watering schedule and to only water between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.
The restrictions were needed due to high demand on the city’s Graham Mesa water treatment plant and were to remain in effect through Sept. 30 or until further notice. Under an odd/even watering schedule, properties with even addresses water on calendar days that are even. Properties with odd addresses water on calendar days that are odd.
Recent hot temperatures have nearly doubled demand on the water plant. It was producing around 2 million gallons per day, but reached a daily average of 3.2 million gallons a day, with several days at 3.6 million gallons. The plant’s maximum finished water output is 3.75 million gallons a day, Deussen said.
The new water plant will be designed to process up to 6 million gallons a day, Deussen said.
“That was one of the main reasons we decided to build it,” he added. “That, and the current plant’s inability to meet new [Colorado Department of Public Health] requirements on water quality.”
Deussen said the city is “getting very close” to seeking contractor bids on the new plant. The city has asked its consultant, Phil Vaughan Construction Management of Rifle, to do more quality assurance and groundwater testing on the new plant site, on the north side of U.S. Highway 6 east of Rifle, near the municipal storage building.
The city now plans to seek bids in late August or early September, and award the project to a general contractor in October or November, Deussen said.
“That probably means they won’t be able to do much this winter in terms of pouring concrete,” he added. “The first thing they’ll do is excavate the site and haul the dirt to the old [sewer] lagoon site” in West Rifle.
Deussen said the delay in starting the project — originally planned to begin this summer — should not affect the project budget.
“We’ve built several alternatives into the plan,” he said.
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