Living in some parts of the Delta County outback can mean giving up conveniences that most people consider normal.
For instance, paved roads, some types of modern plumbing fixtures, and even electric service are all accouterments of civilization that most people wouldn't want to do without, but which aren't available everywhere people want to live in Delta County.
There is one benefit of civilization, though, that people pursuing their rural residential lifestyle dreams can enjoy in some of the county's remote areas, even into the reaches of upper Surface Creek, Cedar Mesa and Redlands Mesa.
That benefit is a dependable supply of clean, domestic water delivered right to household faucets by the private enterprise Upper Surface Creek Domestic Water Users Association (USCDWUA). The company is one of a number of private domestic water enterprises in the county, and it is one with an impressive, up-to-date system operation.
The company's 1,000 domestic taps are supplied by an efficient, modern water filtration andtreatment facility located off Surface Creek Road.
The DCI was recently invited to a tour of the water plant with licensed water treatment operator Dayton Myers during a day of normal operations.
The company has been delivering water to customers since the late 1950s. It serves a large rural area that can be described roughly as areas north of the Surface Creek Saddle Club rodeo grounds, and between Surface Creek and Leroux Creek.
The company's treatment plant was built and began delivering water in January 2005. The company previously had a cooperative relationship with the Town of Cedaredge that provided for the town's water plant to treat water owned and delivered by USCDWUA. The company is still apart owner in the Cedaredge water treatment facilities even though it has its own treatment plant now.
The USCDWUA board and the town are entering into discussions to revise their former operation agreement to better reflect the current realities. There is a physical connection between the two systems that can be opened by turning a valve should either system need to access a backup supply from the other's plant.
The USCDWUA plant gets its raw water source from the Grand Mesa's snow melt. It is collected in reservoirs atop the mesa and then released into Surface Creek. The plant takes water directly from the creek and then puts it through a series of screening and filtration stages before it enters the plant ready for final filtering, treatment,storage, and delivery.
The water intake is a half mile upstream from the plant. The water goes through a series of screenings that removes sediment and particulate matter down to .001 millimeter in size – one micron.
The plant was designed by Myers and Dan Hawkins, company manager, so that all the water flows through on head pressure, eliminating any need for costly electric-powered pumping.
The plant is treating about 200,000 gallons per day now during winter months and it handles about 500,000 in the summer. The plant is able to treat up to one million gallons per day in its present configuration. Myers and Hawkins planned the system for simple expansion, and the plant's capacity could be doubled without needing to add to the building.
The two operators helped Cedaredge construct its second water filter plant in 1998, and Dayton said they both learned the important lesson of planning and building for possible future expansion needs in the original design.
There are 48 fine-filter modules that form the heart of the filtration process. They are cleaned regularly by back flushing, using water, pressurized air and a soda scrub.
When the plant opened there were 24 of the ten-foot-tall cylindrical filter modules. As the housing boom advanced and more people sought the chance to realize their rural wilderness-living dreams, tap sales increased and another 16 filter modules had to be added. That expansion was completed in 2009.
Dayton said the plant's efficient design results in a 97 percent efficiency. That means that 97 percent of the water that flows through the plant ends up as treated water entering the distribution system. That is an impressive figure in these days when water conservation is becoming a bigger issue for all water users across the state.
When water completes the filtering process, sanitizing chlorine is added and it enters a pre-distribution storage that allows the chlorine to have its cleansing effect.
The company's distribution system utilizes a 330,000-gallon treated water main storage tank, along with three other tanks located on Redlands Mesa, and one on Willbanks Mesa.
There are over 100 miles of distribution pipelines in the company system, Dayton said. Some of them take water where Mother Nature had never intended it to go, requiring some good engineering to make a lot of water flow uphill under pressure in some places the company serves.
The plant's operations are fully automated, and either Dayton or Hawkins can monitor plant functions and control operations from their home desktop computers. Physical presence required at the plant is at about an hour at a time when needed to perform routine tasks such as monitoring and tests that must be done by hand.
The system is able to send alarms automatically to the operators' homes if necessary.
The USCDWUA treatment plant is just one of the private company domestic water systems in Delta County that allows residents to enjoy living in the area's natural environment while being able to depend on at least one of the normal comforts of home.blog comments powered by Disqus