Water district plans $4.5 million in projects in 2009

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No love lost for deteriorating tennis courts

By Vicky Gits

The days of Evergreen’s long-abandoned rooftop tennis court at Highway 74 and Meadow Drive are numbered.

The big concrete slab at the wastewater treatment plant is big enough to hold two tennis courts, the outlines of which can still be seen from above. But after reigning for 35 years as a neighborhood eyesore, the concrete roof, which covers treatment machinery and aeration tanks, has been deemed unsound and has to be replaced before it collapses. The job is expected to cost $2 million.

Under the draft budget outlined Nov. 19, the Evergreen Metro District plans to spend about $4.5 million next year on major improvements to water and wastewater systems. The upgrades are expected to add $6 to the $33 basic monthly wastewater-treatment cost. Increases in basic operating costs are expected to add another $1 to the basic water rate, which stands at $20.50 per tap and $2.70 per 1,000 gallons, up to 9,000 gallons.

The roof is certainly the most urgent project on the table. The district hired a structural engineering company that advised the pillars supporting the roof have deteriorated and are no longer safe. A consultant said the roof should be replaced as soon as possible.

The new roof will be round, with a geodesic dome-like structure in the center surrounded by removable, wedge-shaped flat panels on the outside.

The district decided to postpone a complete renovation and upgrade of the wastewater treatment plant for five years, unless it is forced into an immediate upgrade by the health department for some reason.

The cost of the roof replacement will be shared by the Upper Bear Creek Water and Sanitation District.

District officials are worried the current wastewater plant, which discharges into Bear Creek, won’t meet stricter state health department and EPA requirements in the next five years without a major upgrade.

“The Colorado department of health, along with the EPA, is continually changing the regulations pertaining to wastewater discharges into Bear Creek,” said Gerry Schulte, metro district executive director. “The next permit cycle is expected to bring significant changes to the plant’s discharge permit that will require major upgrades.”

Bigger storage tanks planned

In addition to replacing the roof for $2 million, the district plans to remove a 100,000-gallon underground water storage tank near the North Evergreen shopping center and replace it with a 500,000-gallon tank for about $2.5 million, including upgrading the pump station.

The storage facility and station, known as the Yellow Zone Tank and Pump Station, are located off Evergreen Parkway above Bank of the West and the key shop, on water department land.

The underground tank replacement project is expected to save the district money in the long run, Schulte said.

“We pump water from the lake through the yellow zone. We have to pump uphill 800 feet. That’s difficult on pumps and limits the amount of water you can pump,” Schulte said.

The pump station represents something of a dividing point between the newer neighborhoods in North Evergreen and the older neighborhoods to the south built in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s.

“We have this giant oak, and it’s being fed by a bamboo stem,” Schulte said. “We are trying to upgrade the stem to supply more water to the newer areas.”

The tank project includes two 6-foot-tall retaining walls and a significant amount of excavating on a steep, rocky site. The material for the retaining wall has not been fixed, but officials discussed stacked-rock, landscape-block and poured-concrete construction.

Under the preliminary budget outlined Nov. 19, the district will pay for the storage tank and pump complex out of capital revenue and reserves. (Capital revenue comes from district sales of water taps for new construction.)

The sale of water and wastewater taps is projected to generate $290,000 in 2009 ($246,000 in water and $44,000 in wastewater taps). Individual taps sell for $22,000.

The district’s last big investment was the 2003 water treatment plant upgrade, which cost about $6 million. In 2006 a new wastewater digester project was completed for $2.2 million. (A digester is used to break down waste products during the sewage treatment process.)

The metro district serves 4,000 residential and 1,800 commercial water users and 5,545 wastewater accounts as of October, according to the preliminary November budget report.

Public hearings

The public is invited to attend hearings to discuss borrowing funds from Colorado Water and Power Authority to fund the roof replacement project:

• Upper Bear Creek Water and Sanitation District will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13, at the Evergreen Metro District office, 30920 Stagecoach Blvd.

• The Evergreen Metro District will hold a public hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, at the Evergreen Metro District office, 30920 Stagecoach Blvd.