UP THE CREEK
December 1, 2002
As you may know (if you read your previous newsletter, or the Call of the Annual Meeting, or the Delta County Independent) the Association is approaching a critical time. After a 44-year relationship, USCDWUA and the Town of Cedaredge are considering a separation. As owners of the Association, you are entitled to as much information as possible to assure you that your water supply will continue, and will be safe and affordable. Many questions come to mind. Here are some that have been considered:
Q: Where will our water come from?
A: The Association will retain its water rights and use its own water as always. The source will be Surface Creek.
Q: How will the water be treated?
A: It is proposed to build a water treatment plant, using membrane microfiltration technology.
Q: Are there any other treatment plants of this type in operation?
A: The USCDWUA staff has visited membrane plants in Crested Butte, Basalt, and Westminster,
Colorado. There are other such plants in the state and around the world.
Q: Will we still be able to obtain spring water as our source?
A: The preliminary plan is to use creek water exclusively. The present spring water collection system is in serious need of total rebuild. For quite some time, the springs have not produced enough water, and creek water is being taken into the system to make up the difference.
Q: Will the water taste different?
A: There will be times when we have to contend with algae-related tastes and odors, just as there are now. We are investigating different disinfection methods to eliminate them, while reducing the dependence on heavy chlorination. We receive more taste and odor complaints related to chlorine than any other cause.
Q: How much is this going to cost?
A: Probably a million dollars.
Q: Wouldn’t it be cheaper to stay with the Town?
A: Possibly, but not much. An engineering study done this year for the Town has recommended work on the collection and treatment systems that could easily cost us as much as our own treatment plant.
Q: Will our water bills increase as a result?
A: It depends on the success of obtaining low-cost funding (grants, or loans) to build our plant. It also depends on the outcome of negotiations with the Town regarding compensation for the Association’s interest in the present jointly-owned system. It is reasonable to expect that the Association’s costs are going to increase in the future regardless of what direction we take.
Q: Won’t the cost of operating our own plant be greater than the present arrangement?
A: We expect that it will actually be less. We will not need to hire any additional people; qualified operators are already on staff. The plant is expected to require a minimum of supervision, and some of that can be done remotely from our office.
Q: How can I learn more?
A: I’m glad you asked that question. Be at the Cedaredge Community Center at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday December 10 for registration at the Annual Meeting, which starts at 7:00. This year’s meeting should be especially interesting, and, we hope, informative. See you there.