Water treatment plant rehab nears completion

Rangely eyes waste water plant improvements next

RANGELY | With Rangely’s Water Treatment Plant nearing completion of a five year and $6 million rehabilitation project the town won’t be able to spend much time resting before beginning another major renovation, this time on the Waste Water Treatment Facility.
Town Manager Peter Brixius says the Water Treatment Plant was in poor shape when he first came to Rangely almost 10 years ago.
“One of the two river intakes was unusable,” he said. Shortly after taking on the role of town manager, Brixius began looking into what it would take to either repair or replace the plant. After determining that a new plant would cost $10-11 million it was decided repairing the current plant was preferable.
The remodel of the plant occurred in three phases with the final phase expected to be completed by the end of the year. Of the $6 million in cost, $3 million came from Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grants and another $150,000 from various other grant programs. The town borrowed an additional $1.5 million from the state. The difference was made up by direct transfers from the town to the utilities department. The utilities department is not primarily taxpayer funded and receives the bulk of its revenue from user fees.
Some of the major improvements to the plant included repairing a structural support problem on the interior of the plant, electrical and HVAC upgrades, replacing several major equipment components including tube settlers and filters and expanding the clearwell. New security fencing and improvements to the fluoride feed system were also part of the rehab.
With the end of the Water Treatment Plant rehab in sight the town has been forced to begin discussions of another major utilities project upgrade, this time to the Waste Water Treatment Facility.
According to Brixius, because of Rangely’s small population the Waste Water Treatment Facility has been exempt from certain state regulations, namely the “nutrient rule” which regulates allowable amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus discharge. However, Brixius anticipates that beginning in 2027 the exemption will disappear.
Brixius says that there are two possible ways to bring the facility up to the new standards. The addition of sequencing batch reactors at a cost of $3-4 million, or an activated sludge plant, which in 10 years might cost anywhere from $8-12 million.
“Many smaller communities like Cedaredge or Nederland are opting for sequencing batch reactors largely due to treatment cost benefit. In 10 years there might be a better technology,” he said.