Construction begins on wastewater plant

Construction of a $22.8 million wastewater treatment plant began Thursday in Fruita.

The plant is being built at 15 Road near the Colorado River by Garney Construction of Littleton. Construction is scheduled to conclude in 2012, and the city received a $2.76 million grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to help offset the cost.

The city obtained a 20-year loan at 2.5 percent interest and put $2 million from its sewer fund into the project to cover the additional costs.

The full cost of the new plant, including 3 1/2 miles of pipes and lift stations from the soon-to-be-closed lagoons, which are the city’s current way of treating wastewater, is $33 million, Mayor Ken Henry said.

The capacity of those lagoons is about a million gallons a day, said Tom Huston, Fruita’s director of public works.

“We are at about 80 percent capacity,” he said.

The new plant will have the ability to treat 2.33 million gallons of waste daily. Huston said the city anticipates the facility will have 20 years of operation and the ability to handle Fruita’s projected growth rate of 2.5 percent.

But the main reason for the new plant is federal clean-water standards, Huston said.

“The environmental laws have changed, and they will require us to meet greater nutrient removal standards by 2013,” Huston said.

Many things have changed in Fruita in regard to the treatment of wastewater, Henry said.

Growing up in Fruita, Henry said he could recall that until 1972 wastewater was piped into the Little Salt Wash, and from there it flowed into the Colorado River. Now the city is spending $33 million for a treatment plant, he said.

Henry said the city is “proud to be doing our part to maintain the health of the Colorado River.”

The project will employ 20 to 50 people during its construction, Henry said.


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