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Cedaredge sewer plant is dedicated

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Photo by Hank Lohmeyer Former Cedaredge mayor Pat Means expresses the town's feeling of great relief now that its $4.9 million sewer plant project is completed. She was assisted with a roll of toilet paper at an official "ribbon-cutting" ceremony on June

The Town of Cedaredge held an official dedication of its new $4.9 million wastewater treatment plant (WWTF) on June 16.

Some 60 citizens and government officials accepted the town's invitation to attend the ribbon cutting and dedication.

One of the two buildings in the facility is named in memory of Steve McAlpine, a town worker who lost his life in a 2011 automobile accident while returning from an employee training. His parents, Bud and Marjorie McAlpine of Cedar Mesa, and his daughter, Ashley, were present for the event.

The town's new mechanical WWTF replaces the former system of sewage lagoons that was put into operation in 1975. The nationwide housing boom that occurred during the 21st century's advent period impacted Cedaredge with much new residential construction. That increased the lagoons' sewage treatment load to near state-mandated limits. Government regulations for allowed effluent chemical levels were also tightened bringing even closer the day of the lagoon system's total obsolescence.

Town officials began looking ahead and took on required planning studies for the lagoons' eventual replacement. In 2003, an idea for a combined Cedaredge/Orchard City sewer plant costing an estimated $8.5 million came to no effect. The idea was not accepted by Orchard City residents who rely on individual septic systems. And, in addition to the high project cost, the final study included options with tap fee costs as high as $28,000.

Then in 2007 another study for a "regional sewer plant" including Cedaredge, Orchard City and Delta resulted in an engineer's "opinion of probable cost" of $88.8 million. It concluded that more study of the idea was needed and the plan was dropped.

The final blow to the Cedaredge sewage lagoons came when environmental problems linked to them reached a critical point and the Environmental Protection Agency took notice. With EPA involvement, government agencies lined up with funding help for Cedaredge to build its new WWTF plant. According to the town, DOLA provided $2.21 million; the state health department provided $1.05 million; the federal Water Resources and Power Development Authority gave $497,000; and Cedaredge residents will chip in just under $1.24 million of their own money, a figure that does not include annual operation and maintenance or the cost of pumping effluent from the plant uphill 400 feet in elevation and a mile away to the plant's discharge point into Surface Creek at Jay Avenue bridge.

Also according to information provided by the Town of Cedaredge, expected final costs -- which may not be completely known until December -- are just under $4.98 million. Of that total, $4.52 million is for construction activities and $458,000 is for design work.

Photo by Hank Lohmeyer Cedaredge’s new sewer plant utilizes state-of-the-art equipment. At left are blowers that provide oxygen to the treatment process. At right are three heavy-duty, triple-redundant pumps that will lift up to 360,000 gallons per day of the plant’s effluent 400 feet uphill and transport it a mile away to the discharge point into Surface Creek.
Photo by Hank Lohmeyer Some 60 people attended the dedication of the new Cedaredge sewage treatment plant on June 16.
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