Oak Creek Town Board to discuss water treatment plant issues Thursday | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek Town Board to discuss water treatment plant issues Thursday

Nicole Inglis

— An ongoing legal issue regarding Oak Creek's new wastewater treatment plant could send Oak Creek Town Board officials into executive session at their semimonthly meeting Thursday.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Oak Creek Town Hall and will start with two hearings on ongoing issues with medical marijuana. One Oak Creek dispensary owner is looking to transfer a license while another is looking to move his grow operation to comply with town codes.

The license transfer was delayed at the last meeting, and the town's attorney has recommended in a letter that the decision be delayed again.

Jacob Wise, the owner of Mary's Medical, is looking to move his grow operation to 209 Nancy Crawford Blvd., where Wise is growing for another license. That land-use change went before the Oak Creek Planning Commission on Wednesday.

Wastewater plant problems

The first action item Thursday will address the wastewater treatment plant, which town attorney Bob Weiss told the Pilot & Today in early June had operation and construction issues that could require legal action.

On June 14, Weiss sent a letter to Jacobs Engineering, the engineering contractor on the $3 million project, outlining the project's shortcomings and claiming Jacobs was responsible for the cost of the project's alleged defects.

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Hall & Evans, the attorneys for Jacobs, responded to each claim in a letter dated Sept. 9.

The town's first claim was that the new wastewater treatment plant was using excessive power. Wastewater treatment plant electric bills are paid to Yampa Valley Electric Association because the treatment plant is not in Oak Creek's utility district. In the past several years, the total annual electrical cost to operate the plant was about $10,000. In March 2011, however, when the new plant was first operational, the monthly bill was in excess of $12,000. April costs were upward of $7,000, and May through August were in the $2,000 range each, still more than twice the monthly average.

Hall & Evans responded that to comply with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulations, Jacobs Engineering had to install an inline heater, which would increase the power consumption during winter months. Jacobs alleges the town failed to operate the heater properly by running it at too high of a temperature.

The Weiss letter also sought restitution for extra months of paying for a "resident project representative," which Jacobs claimed it was not responsible for because the project delays were not its fault.

Weiss also claimed that the plant's bar screens were not designed properly for the amount of water flow, which Jacobs said it is addressing with the screen company.

The town also notified Jacobs of issues with the sludge pump, lift pump and sump pump. Some of those issues have been addressed through warranty replacements, the Jacobs response letter said, while others are the responsibility of Duckels Construction, the general contractor for the project.

"In sum, it is our understanding … that over the course of the past five months the Town's (wastewater treatment plant) has performed efficiently, meeting all required state discharge permit requirements," the Jacobs response states. "It is important for the town to realize that as seasons change and weather temperatures decrease, plant operation and maintenance requirements change."

The Town Board will discuss the response letter, possibly in executive session, as well as town park fees during the meeting Thursday.

Call Town Clerk Karen Halterman for more information at 970-736-2422.

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com

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