Phippsburg's water complies with rules

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Phippsburg's new water filtration system is working, which means the system now passes state regulations.

"It's very good news for the community," said Michael Zopf, Routt County environmental health director.

On June 24, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued Phippsburg an enforcement order. The order stated the water system did not comply with state drinking water regulations.

In a Feb. 28 letter, the state said that the new system now followed all regulations and that the order to comply would be closed.

The new system allows the community to filter its water instead of simply treating it with chlorine, as required by state and federal rules. The system also has a monitoring system that works 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The previous treatment plant was built in 1980 and did not have enough space for filtration equipment, so a new building was necessary.

"We're pleased that we're able to have moved on and finished the project and upgraded the system," Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said.

The water filtration system was the first phase of the upgrades to Phippsburg's water system. Phase two will be an expansion of the community's well, which should be completed in the coming weeks.

The well is on a hay meadow owned by Ray and Louise Iacovetto, and the county always takes care when working in the area, Zopf said.

"It's a pretty nice looking meadow and we want to keep it that way," he said.

The county, which manages the water system, started the upgrade about 3 1/2 years ago, Zopf said. It encountered numerous delays, including higher than expected costs.

The county has received a grant of $300,000 and loan of $131,000 from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for the project.

Water rates also have been increased to help pay for the improvements. They jumped from $57 per quarter to $84 per quarter in 2003, and increased again in 2004 to $86 per quarter.

Residents saw another increase for 2005. Water rates went from $86 to $89 per quarter, and sewer rates also increased from $48 to $51 per quarter.

Those rates, Zopf said, more closely reflect state averages.

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