County cracks down on leaking sewage

By LE ROY STANDISH

A Gateway trailer park that has been leaking raw sewage into the ground — and possibly into the Dolores River — for at least a year is finally cleaning up its act.

The Mesa County Commission on Tuesday authorized Mesa County Code Enforcement to pursue legal action against Katherine Willis, the owner of the three-lot trailer park, if the trailers are not connected to the Gateway wastewater treatment plant within 90 days.

Willis signed a compliance plan, has purchased the necessary taps, hired a surveyor, secured a contractor to lay the new sewage line and obtained a building permit.

According to the Willis, the Colorado Department of Transportation damaged a line connecting the trailers to a septic field while removing mill tailings from the area in 2006.

The damage was done to the line before it reached the septic field, which is adjacent to the Dolores River. The river and Colorado Highway 141 separates the property from Gateway Canyons Resort.

The county was first alerted to the situation in 2007. During a site visit in March 2007, county employees first saw the 10-foot by 10-foot sewage lagoon.

“Not huge, but certainly a concern,” said Tony Piotrowski, a code enforcement officer.

Only one of the three trailers has been rented since December, “so there hasn’t been very much discharge from that,” Willis said.

Employees from Gateway Canyons Resort have assisted Willis in cleaning other tracts of the land of debris and junk cars, said John Williams, legal counsel to the resort.

The resort also built a fence for Willis to shield items to keep from public view.
John Willis, son of Katherine Willis, said the plan was a good solution and an improvement to the septic system.


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