Rifle water treatment plant on display during tour | PostIndependent.com

Rifle water treatment plant on display during tour

Operations Manager Robert Burns speaks with members of the public and the Middle Colorado Watershed Council during a tour of the new facility on Friday.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Rifle closed the books on its largest capital project to date last year, and the city’s new $30 million water purification will now be celebrating its one-year anniversary of operation next month.

Middle Colorado Watershed Council, a Rifle-based organization that aims to protect the stretch of Colorado River from the mouth of Glenwood Canyon to De Beque at the western edge of Garfield County, invited Rifle community members for a tour of the facility Friday to check out their investment in person.

John Nicolodi, community outreach coordinator for MCWC, said he joined up with the organization about a month and a half ago and wanted to organize a casual and quick event for the community to enjoy.

He said his big takeaway is to see the community participation in the tour ,as nearly 20 folks headed to the outskirts of Rifle to see where their water comes from.

“This many folks on a Friday to learn where their drinking water is coming from and where their tax dollars went is great,” he said.

The final contract value came in at around $27 million, which got the facility built and in production, with additional improvements such as paving the roadway and adding a backup generator pushing the cost to around $30 million.

“This has been a significant project and has taken a lot of people to get done,” City Council member Theresa Hamilton said at a meeting in June, 2017, in which the council accepted the completed construction, a necessary step to close out the project.

The new plant, consisting of eight above-ground structures on a campus of approximately 5 acres, went online in late April last year, and replaced both the Graham Mesa plant and the Beaver Creek plant for Rifle residents.

Those in attendance Friday toured from where the water comes in from the Colorado River through the entire flirtation flocculation process until it is poured into your drinking glass at home.

During the summer, the plant produces as an average of 4 million gallons a day, a volume that Operations Manager Robert Burns said would have been difficult to maintain at the old facility.

After nearly a year in operation, Burns said the biggest improvement is just how much more reliable the new plant is, and that it has more and better redundancies that increase the efficiency of the plant.