Hotchkiss Town Council learned at the Dec. 8 meeting that the Department of Local Affairs will amend its grant funding agreement for sewer projects, extending funding to January 31, 2018. Last year the town completed an in-town, $1.8 million sanitation line upgrade. The extension will give the town time to complete other projects, said town engineer Joanne Fagan. Assuming the contractor is still willing to do the work, the town already has a bid on the effluent line project from town to the treatment plant, said Fagan; the remainder of the work, including seep line design, will go to bid after the new year.
The timing is good, since DOLA has very little to offer in grants for 2017, said Fagan. "We hit it right."
The roof on the town's 450,000-gallon water storage tank on Barrel Mesa is also in need of repairs. Fagan and public works director Mike Owens gave a presentation on the tank. All the bolts in the roof support system have rusted out, the cross supports and columns have dropped down. The full extent of the damage isn't yet known, since assessing damages will require construction of scaffolding, said Owens. Doughty Steel in Delta, which Fagan said has built most of the water tanks in the valley, has proposed a plan to build the scaffolding and replace the bolts for $13,000.
"I would recommend that we get them up here as soon as possible and get it done," said Owens. The roofing will also need to be painted and the tank disinfected when the project is complete, adding to the cost of the project. The 2017 budget includes a $50,000 line item in water fund expenses for tank maintenance, which is expected to cover the entire project.
Mayor Wendell Koontz asked for an estimate on the number of years of service the town might expect from the tank once the work is done. "We've already gotten 40 years," said Owens.
About 20 years ago, said Fagan, the town was hoping for another 10 years of life out of the tank after repairs were made. "Until we see how much (rust) is eaten out of those columns," it's hard to tell how many years it has. She speculated that these repairs will buy some time and apply for DOLA funding for a replacement tank in a couple of years. For now, Fagan told council, the plan is to stabilize the roof and buy some time until a long-term plan can be put in place and funding can be secured. "Let's just try and get it stable right now and then we'll come back and talk to you about what your options are," she said.
The tank was the first built by the town, which also operates a 350,000-gallon and a one-million-gallon storage tank. It's a serious situation, said Owens. "If we have a break between this tank and the water plant, we'll have to shut the entire town down to fix it, because there's no other supply of water hooked into this town."
"This isn't something you want to do without for the winter," said Fagan.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Delta County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting to consider the board's response to the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the lease parcels proposed for the December BLM sale.
Several people from the North Fork were present to provide input.