P'burg project finds builder

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Routt County has chosen a contractor to build the new Phippsburg water treatment system, bringing closer to completion a project that has suffered numerous delays.

Work could begin within the next month, with the major improvements being completed by the end of 2004, said Michael Zopf, Routt County Environmental Health Department director.

The project will allow the community to filter its water instead of just treating it with chlorine, as required by state and federal rules.

"That's going to lead to a safer water supply for the residents of Phippsburg," Zopf said.

The chosen contractor was low bidder Bears Ears Excavation, owned by West Routt resident Jeff Fry.

Fry's company bid just less than $300,000 to complete the project. Duckels Construction bid about $322,000, while Native Excavating bid about $408,000.

The county was "pleased" to receive lower bids that fit within its budget, Zopf said.

The project went out to bid last year, and had a low bid of about $330,000. It was put to bid a second time because the first bids were based on the project beginning last fall on a different property, officials said.

The county started work on the project three years ago, but because of delays from higher-than-expected costs and difficulties building on property owned by Union Pacific Railroad, construction has yet to begin.

The property for the new meter and chlorination building was bought in May from the Iacovetto family for $8,000. The parcel is adjacent to Colorado Highway 131 just south of the Phippsburg city limits.

Phippsburg's current facility can disinfect water and control corrosion, but under the Colorado Safe Drinking Water Regulations, the water also should be filtered, Zopf said. The treatment plant was built in 1980 and does not have enough space for filtration equipment, so a new building is necessary.

Routt County has received a grant of $300,000 and loan of $131,000 from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to bring the water facility up to state standards. Water rates also have been increased to help pay for the improvements, with another increase expected at the beginning of 2005.

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