The new Colorado State Park Headquarters on the Yampa River is scheduled to open May 19, even though continuing problems with a wastewater treatment and distribution system are holding up the project's completion.
When the park opens, 45 vehicle and walk-in campsites and restrooms will be available, although a camper services building will not open until half of an evapotranspiration field is rebuilt and the wastewater system problems are resolved.
The new state parks headquarters has a visitor's center/administration building, camper services building equipped with bathrooms and showers, a maintenance shop, group picnic shelter and two small vault restrooms. Although the vault restrooms have yet to be completed because of the wastewater distribution system, Park Manager Dennis Scheiwe said the park will be ready for the public on May 19.
"We're already open for general information, parks passes and public camping," he said. "In May, the campground will open and it will have 35 vehicle spots with electrical hookups, 10 walk-in tent sites and restroom facilities will be available, just probably not the camper services building because of the water situation."
The campsites for the park are not on the statewide reservations system for the summer because of the uncertainty of when they were going to become available to the public.
They will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, Scheiwe said. In addition to the regular campsites, the park will offer teepees this summer, but again the date for availability has not been released.
"The buildings are complete and the water treatment plant is about 99 percent done and we expect it to be functioning before May 19," Scheiwe said. "Rus-Den's water treatment portion of the project is not the same portion as what Beavers is responsible for. They will continue to work throughout the summer on some landscaping for the park as well."
Rus-Den Construction, one of two companies involved in the project, was responsible for the construction of all the buildings and a wastewater treatment plant.
The other company involved, Beavers Construction, is responsible for the wastewater distribution, collection and treatment system that is delaying project completion.
"They still can't pass the pressure tests on the system and are still experiencing leaks," Scheiwe said.
The wastewater treatment lines are part of a complicated system that carries wastewater from buildings and restrooms to a evapotranspiration field (ET field) that is approximately two acres in size.
Inside the ET field are two cells that filter water through a complex sand system that is covered by topsoil and grass.
Of the two cells in the ET field, one is unsatisfactory. The wastewater is not completely contained in the ET field and it could potentially spill into the surrounding soil and river because pieces called infiltrators are crushed and the PVC liner that contains the cell has holes in it.
"We can't have polluted water leaking out into the soil and Beavers Construction is responsible for delivering the ET field to contract specifications," Scheiwe said.
Beavers Construction will be reconstructing half of the ET field, a project that will take the company well into the summer.
"We are in negotiations with them (Beavers Construction) right now, trying to decide when the reconstruction will take place and who's going to foot the bill," Scheiwe said.
The water distribution system carries fresh water to campsites, restrooms and showers. The wastewater distribution carries polluted water away from the sites and restrooms to a treatment system. Both water line systems were scheduled for completion in October 1999.
Scheiwe said that, despite the hold up with the water system, he is pleased the park is open now and the campsites will be open later this month.
"We're happy to be able to open to the public on the 19th, it will help generate the revenue we need to operate," he said. "I hoped to be open sooner, but when it's all completed it will be a wonderful facility and we're all very pleased with it."