Couple recognized for water work

Iacovettos honored for three decades of service to Phippsburg Water District

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Louise Iacovetto has sent out her last set of water bills.

For years, she and her husband, Ray Iacovetto, have mailed the hand-written bills out to Phippsburg residents every three months.

It was just part of her job as treasurer of the Phippsburg Water and Sanitation District, a position Ray or Louise has served since the district was formed almost three decades ago.

The hand-written bills turned into computer printouts a few years ago, and this year they are being processed by the Routt County Department of Environmental Health.

That means Louise and Ray can retire, in a sense, from the treasurer position.

Louise, 80, and Ray, 88, were recognized last week by Routt County with a Community Service Award for their years of commitment to the Phippsburg Water and Sanitation District.

The couple has "been public spirited and done whatever it took" to make Phippsburg's water supply and wastewater treatment successful, Environmental Health Director Michael Zopf said.

Louise and Ray grew up in Phippsburg and remember well the times before the 1970s, when houses used individual wells and septic tanks.

The small lot sizes meant water easily could be contaminated, and with new state rules in the 1970s, the county began looking at options for building a wastewater plant.

Ray and Louise were involved with those discussions from the start, and have stayed involved as the wastewater plant and a water treatment plant were built in 1977 and 1980, respectively, Zopf said.

"It's really Ray and Louise who have been involved since Day 1," he said. "Any time we've asked them for anything, they haven't hesitated, they've come forward and worked with us."

For Louise, it is time for a little retirement in general -- a "change of pace" as she calls it. Ray has had health problems for the past few years, so Louise said now she'll be able to spend some more time helping him.

The Iacovettos also plan to sell the building that the Ray Iacovetto Store is in, ending a business that has been a cornerstone of the community for 35 years.

Both have been active in the community for years, running a ranch and the Ray Iacovetto Store in Phippsburg.

Ray became postmaster in 1949, and the post office operated out of the general store his father owned and started in 1919, then out of the Ray Iacovetto Store, which was a hardware store, when it opened in 1970.

He was postmaster for 32 years, handing the job over to Louise when he retired, who served until 1989.

The couple does not plan to leave Phippsburg, but just wants a little more time for themselves, Louise said.

Louise explains the couple's involvement in the water district as being second nature. It was the sort of task they started doing because someone needed to, and kept doing because they knew the ropes.

"Just because when you get in the habit of doing something, why, it comes easy to you," Louise said.

The job has meant the Iacovettos get called when any residents have trouble with their water supply. But it also has been a way to meet people and stay in touch with everyone in town, Louise said.

Zopf said that the Iacovettos have supported the district in more ways than just serving as treasurers.

When engineers determined that the best water supply would come from part of the Iacovettos hay meadow, the couple agreed to sell the piece of land, Zopf said. And when another piece of land was needed for a new water treatment and filtration plant, which is being built now, the Iacovettos, with their son Elvis, volunteered to sell another small piece of land.

That new water treatment and filtration plant should be online by the end of January, and will be followed by an expansion of the existing well on the Iacovettos' property to meet the water demand as Phippsburg grows.

The bottom line, Zopf said, is that the new and old water treatment plant and the wastewater plant, "wouldn't be in existence today without their dedication to the community."

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