Paonia water tank continues to dog town

File photo A Paonia public works employee wades through water during repairs to the floor and lining of the one-million gallon water storage tank on Lamborn Mesa in August 2015. The tank was off-line for months while repairs were completed. The state heal

A water storage tank lining that caused the Town of Paonia headaches in 2015 and 2016 is again causing problems.

During a recent sanitary survey of the town's drinking water system by the Colorado Department of Heath and Environment, the one million-gallon Clock water storage tank on Lamborn Mesa was deemed a risk for contamination due to failures in the tank's lining. Sanitary surveys are routine on-site reviews of public water systems to identify deficiencies and violations.

In spring of 2015 the tank's floor and liner were heavily damaged by underground water pressure that occurred while the tank was drained during repairs to the roof. Repairs were completed in 2016. Following the sanitary survey, the state ordered the town to shut the tank down until the lining is repaired, according to Public Works Director Travis Loberg.

Since the two-million-gallon Upper Lamborn Mesa water storage tank is sufficient to service the entire delivery system, the closure does not affect service to town water customers, said Loberg. But with the ongoing drought, if flows from the springs that feed the system get too low later in the year, the town will need the facility in order to service the entire area.

Loberg said the town is waiting on recommendations from engineers on how to rectify the problem.

At the Feb. 13 board meeting, trustee Bill Bear, who serves on the public works, utilities and facilities committee, asked that the committee research options and make a recommendation to the board, "Especially with the upcoming drought and the chance that we won't be able to use it."

The town is also working with engineers on two in-town water line projects, according to Loberg, including upgrades to the storm drainage system and sewer line in the 100 block of Clark Avenue, for which the town was awarded a grant. Another project involves installation of a pressure release vault (PRV) in the water delivery system. Both projects are slated for completion this year.

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