062920-Palisade Sewer-CPT

Christopher Tomlinson/The Daily Sentinel

The lagoons at the Palisade sewer plant will have to be removed regardless of what plan the town decides to do in its place. Building a new wastewater treatment plant would cost the town about $15 million. Building a line out to the existing facility in Clifton would cost around $7 million.

Palisade needs to decommission its aging wastewater lagoons and a new study shows piping the town’s waste to the Clifton Sanitation District’s wastewater treatment plant is the most cost-effective replacement.

The Palisade Sewer Study looked at several options for treating Palisade’s wastewater, Town Administrator Janet Hawkinson said. The two main options were to build a new treatment plant in Palisade or send the waste to Clifton.

“What the city found is that (piping to Clifton) is financially better for the town,” Hawkinson said. “It’s about half the price to take a line to Clifton versus us building our own treatment plant and then decommissioning our lagoons.”

A brand new plant would cost around $15 million, Hawkinson said, while utilizing Clifton’s existing facility would cost around $7 million. Decommissioning the lagoons will cost around $3 million, she said, and will have to be done under either plan, as they will not be able to meet water treatment guidelines.

“That will be a project to decommission our lagoons and turn it into something else,” Hawkinson said. “It is in a flood zone, so it will probably be park land.”

Hawkinson said the Palisade Board of Trustees at its last meeting on June 23 decided to send a letter to Clifton Sanitation District expressing its desire to consolidate wastewater treatment at the Clifton plant.

The study also looked at different alignments for the sewer line from Palisade to Clifton. Hawkinson said a gravity-fed alignment that travels through Riverbend Park — the current lagoons are east of the park — and along the north side of the canal was identified as the best option. It would only need one pump station for a portion of the line, which Hawkinson said would be lower maintenance. Another alignment would take the line along U.S. Highway 6, which she said would be harder to maintain.

“That would be almost all forced main line, which has a lot of maintenance problems to it,” Hawkinson said. “So we’re really looking at the gravity alignment moving forward.”

Town staff are beginning to research grant opportunities to pay for design and engineering work on the project, which Hawkinson said would cost around $500,000. She said the Department of Agriculture has some grants available and that the town was looking into other funding sources as well.

“If we can get the funding and get it out for RFQ (Request for Qualifications) hopefully it would take a year and a half to get the engineering and design done,” Hawkinson said. “The whole project, if everything worked great and we got money and funding and grants to get it there, we’re hoping it would be a four-year project. That’s if we’re lucky.”


Work on Highway 6 in Palisade will not take place this year, Hawkinson said.

Hawkinson said she had hoped a project to turn a section of Highway 6 from Main Street to Iowa Avenue back into a two-lane road with turning lanes and a landscaped median would begin construction this year, as well as a separate project to install a sidewalk along Highway 6 to Palisade High School.

Both projects are supported by grants from the Colorado Department of Transportation. Hawkinson said the state wanted to provide a year for design and engineering work on the projects.

The town is evaluating bids from companies to complete that design work, Hawkinson said. She said she hopes to have the design work completed by July 2021 and construction to begin in October 2021.