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Water district in talks

By Dale Rodebaugh Herald staff writer

La Plata-Archuleta Water District and city of Bayfield officials are scheduled to meet Tuesday to review an agreement on expansion of the municipal water-treatment plant.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Bayfield Town Hall, 1199 Bayfield Parkway.

The water district wants to invest in the city plant instead of building its own to serve future customers in the two counties.

“The district would pay for expansion of the plant to serve all customers,” Steve Harris, the district engineer, said Friday. “The designed capacity of the plant is 1.5 million gallons a day, and we’d expand it to 2.5 mgd.”

Harris estimated the cost at $5 million and said work could begin next spring.

The plant currently treats about 900,000 gallons of water a day, Harris said.

“It’s rare to have two governing bodies in agreement,” Harris said. “But this is a good one that will save money for future city and future district water users.”

A treatment plant adds chemicals, then runs water through a settling tank to eliminate solids. The water next is filtered and disinfected.

Voters in November approved spending up to $25 million to build a network consisting of a water-treatment plant and pipelines to distribute potable water.

Construction has not yet started on the upgrades.

But once the district has a water-treatment and delivery system, it can avail itself of water from Vallecito Reservoir through a contract with the Pine River Irrigation District.

The contract allows the district to buy up to 200 acre-feet of water a year. An acre-foot covers a football field to the depth of 1 foot.

Water-district officials also have explored other sources of water – the Animas-La Plata Project and the Pine River at Bayfield.

The water district was created in 2004 to provide drinking water to a 400-square-mile area in southeastern La Plata County and southwest Archuleta County.

Areas in La Plata County would see the first construction.

daler@durangoherald.com

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