Oak Creek received a state order to upgrade its antiquated wastewater treatment plant nearly three years ago -- but it appears to have fallen through the town's administrative cracks until about a month ago.
A 2001 mandatory compliance order from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment stated that Oak Creek must make nearly $1 million in upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant by Oct. 1.
"I just found out about it four weeks ago," Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman said from a meeting with public works engineers. She has requested an extension that will give the town until Oct. 1, 2005, to fix the plant -- but she also has to raise the money to do that work.
Rodeman said she was aware the system had sporadic health violations because of elevated ammonia in the town's sewage. She knew about those violations because official notices are sent directly to the mayor, but she said there have been no violations for several months.
The state's mandatory order to fix Oak Creek's wastewater treatment plant came before Rodeman took office two years ago.
"Had I known about the mandatory order, I would have put it in the budget," Rodeman said.
She is going after several sources of funding, including grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Energy Impact funds and, if the Town Board agrees, low-interest loans.
At tonight's Oak Creek Town Board meeting, Rodeman said she will ask board members for the go-ahead to apply for a $249,349 low-interest loan from the Department of Agriculture to fund one quarter of the plant's upgrade. She is applying for a $498,697 Energy Impact Assistance grant and a $249,349 grant from the Department of Agriculture to cover the balance.
Rodeman said she doesn't expect the town will need any down payments for the capital improvements because the town has leverage in the land under the existing plant that it already owns.
"Luckily, we were working on it anyhow," Rodeman said of plans to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant.
Oak Creek has received $15,000 for a water assessment and $10,000 for a wastewater assessment from the Colorado Drinking Water Revolving Fund.
The upgrade plans call for renovation of the existing plant and moving the mechanical components from their current location to a site next to the lagoon along Colorado Highway 131. After consolidating the facilities, Rodeman said she envisions the current mechanical site being renovated as wetlands or an industrial site.
In other business, the Oak Creek Town Board will do a preliminary review of the Sierra View annexation proposal, but Town Clerk Nancy Crawford said this is "nothing official in any way." She said today's presentation is meant to keep the board up to date on the proposal.
Board members also will discuss ways to improve the nuisance code and will hear public comments to decide on Mike Roach's proposed construction of a woodshop and furniture showroom on the former sight of the Veterans of Foreign Wars building.
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