From wastewater to wine: Lagoon could become vineyard

Clifton’s old wastewater lagoons could become the Grand Valley’s newest vineyard.

The lagoons southeast of the intersection of D and 32 roads are being eliminated. In their place, a mechanical wastewater treatment plant is expected to be fully operational by the end of the month.

The absence of the lagoons will leave a lot of vacant land to fill, possibly with grapes.

“We’re trying to get five acres of grapes in,” said Brian Woods, manager of the Clifton Sanitation District.

Don’t ask him what the label on the wine bottle might read.

In addition to some vines, Woods said there will be 1,500 plants brought in to transform the property. And more grapes might get planted because the entire project is coming in $300,000 under the projected $2.7 million budget.

Most of the savings were realized by using inmate labor from Garfield and Delta counties, Woods said.

Inmates laid 40,000 square feet of sod, installed sprinklers, did much of the planting and cleared a vast swath of river bottom.

“We are virtually done,” Woods said.

The savings realized during construction are translating into real savings for Clifton Sanitation District customers. The district had projected monthly rates for residential customers to be $23 to $25. That estimate has been downgraded by a few bucks.

“We are actually $3 a month cheaper than we projected,” Woods said.

The plant will operate with a crew of seven workers, including Woods and a secretary.


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