Stopping water leaks is costly proposition

By Hank Lohmeyer


A Cedaredge waterline project that started as the replacement of a residential cul-de-sac line, estimated at $65,000 last year, has expanded to a major project including the main line along South Grand Mesa Drive (SH 65), estimated to cost $961,604.

The town board received updated information from town staff at its regular June 16 meeting.

A leak-prone waterline on Greenwood Avenue and the main line on South Grand Mesa Drive that feeds it were left for replacement at a later date due to budget constraints when other waterlines in town were replaced several years ago.

Last year, replacement of the Greenwood line was estimated by the town to cost $65,000. But contractor bids came in three times higher than that and the project was put on hold as grant funding was then sought for a project including both the Greenwood line and the main line together.

Since then, the town's consulting engineer has done thorough leak testing of the town system and advises that full replacement of the problem sections would cost $961,604.

The town's engineering firm stated in its report, "It is our opinion that the Hwy. 65 corridor between Independence Avenue and Main Street, along with the SE Greenwood and SE Frontier Avenue laterals be targeted for replacement. These sections of waterlines have presented ongoing maintenance issues in the form of leaks needing repair both before and during the time period of the observations in this report."

During the town board's discussion, a section of main line from Independence to Centennial along with Greenwood Avenue was the main focus of attention.

Public works co-director Scott Lock noted that the department's crews have "been into" the Greenwood line 11 times in the past five years to make repairs, and added there are three known leaks in the line now.

Trustee Ray Hanson said the line was not replaced several years ago because of financial constraints at the time and added that the problems "are starting to bite us big time."

Trustee Dayton Myers explained that when the main line is shut for repairs it causes major inconvenience. The Grand Mesa Drive section is the main waterline serving residences and businesses located in the east part of the town, he said. Shutdowns for repairs, therefore, affect many residences and businesses.

There are also daunting technical issues involved with the project highlighted by the presence of a 2,000 psi natural gas main line just two inches from the town's waterline. In addition, the town's line is located in a CDOT right-of-way, which places additional construction constraints that add significantly to costs.

Trustees gave the town staff a "thumbs up" consensus to begin to pursue grant funding for the project.

In other business at the June 16 regular meeting the Cedaredge trustees dealt with:

• Public works department co-director Jerry Young has successfully passed his "B" license for wastewater treatment operator and will now become the operator responsible in charge (ORC) for the town's new sewer plant.

• Trustees appointed John Brueger and Ella Kelly to two-year terms on the Cedaredge Tree Board.

• Golf pro Larry Murphy reported that in two, three, or four weeks' time it is hoped the town will hear back from the best prospects, a Colorado Springs couple, for taking over management and operations of the golf course restaurant. He also reported on tournament play and said 25 youths are enrolled in each of two golf camps this year.

• The skate park was closed for repairs to the concrete last week.

• Police chief Dan Sanders recommended that the town install surveillance cameras at its new $4.9 million waste water treatment facility.

• The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has given the town permission to decommission its unused small hydro generating plant at a cost to the town much less than the $40,000 once estimated, town staff reported. The hydro plant was an operating money maker for the town before falling into disrepair and disuse, the DCI is told by a former operator of the unit.

• Planning commission member Bill Miller has resigned his post, creating a third vacancy on the commission.

• Trustees approved $27,634 in change orders for the new sewer plant and also approved $3,617 for a chemical analyzer for use there.

• Trustees approved a "letter of intent" without making a final commitment to participate in a county-wide disaster planning process.

• The board gave staff permission to make an agreement with Volunteers of America for rental of the Civic Center dining room for the senior meals program.

• Trustees met in another in a series of executive sessions about ongoing negotiations with Upper Surface Creek Domestic Water Users Association over ownership rights and compensation issues involving the town's water treatment plant.