Eagle breaks ground on second water treatment plant; it should accommodate growth for next 20 years | VailDaily.com

Eagle breaks ground on second water treatment plant; it should accommodate growth for next 20 years

From left, Eagle town board members Kevin Brubeck, Matt Solomon, Mayor Anne McKibbin, Pappy Kerst and Town Manager Brandy Reitter turn the first shovels of dirt during a groundbreaking for the town's second water treatment plant. The plant is scheduled to be up and running by the fall of 2020.

EAGLE — Eagle's second water treatment plant has been talked about, thought about and planned for two decades.

This week, the town set about starting to build it.

A groundbreaking ceremony saw the first shovels of dirt turned Tuesday, July 10. Excavation should continue through the summer, and concrete should follow in the fall.

Water is scheduled to begin flowing in the fall of 2020.

"This will be the biggest infrastructure project the town will take on in most of our lifetimes," Mayor Anne McKibbin said.

Why they say it's a good idea

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The town's current and only water treatment plant runs at 90 percent capacity during peak demand, and some days it's higher, said Brandy Reitter, Eagle town manager. The new plant will generate as much as 2.5 million gallons of water per day and can be expanded to 5 million gallons per day. It should fulfill the town's projected growth needs for the next 20 years.

"The town must accommodate its existing users. We also want to accommodate new customers and growth. We cannot consider new development unless we have the water to serve," Reitter said. "Now is the time. The demands have increased significantly and we cannot wait any longer."

This new water plant will be on the Eagle River. The current plant is on Brush Creek and is the town's only source of water.

The town has good water rights on the Eagle River, thanks to tireless work by former town manager Willy Powell, Reitter said.

Bryon McGinnis, Eagle's public works director, said the second water plant will help the town preserve those hard-won water rights.

"When it comes to water rights in Colorado, if you don't use them, you lose them," McGinnis said.

A second water plant is also a public safety issue, McGinnis said, pointing out the many wildfires burning around Western Colorado.

The Lake Christine fire near Basalt hit that town's watershed and strained its system. However, Basalt has a system of wells near the Roaring Fork River, and that second water source kept the water flowing, McGinnis said.

The town of Eagle saved $10 million and used it as a down payment on the new plant.

"Development has, for many years, paid its own way. The town has collected and saved fees to help pay for this," Reitter said.

The remaining cost will be covered by a low-interest, 20-year loan from a state revolving fund.

Broomfield-based MWH Constructors will build the plant.

"This project has literally taken a village," Reitter said. "We're happy to finally be at this day."

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

What it will cost

$26,705,796: Total project cost

$23,424,732: Guaranteed maximum price of the plant itself

$100,000: The amount of fees that water users will not pay, because the town board waived them

$19 million: Maximum amount Eagle will borrow to build the plant.

$10 million: Amount Eagle has saved in a special fund to help pay for this.

How they’ll pay for it

3,100: Number of rate payers who’ll split the cost. That includes multi-family projects.

$12.50: variable monthly surcharge for all account holders. That surcharge will sunset when the plant is paid off in about 22 years.

3 percent: Annual increase in water rates starting in 2020. That’s the average inflation rate for the past several years.

Tiered payment structure: The more water you use, the more you’ll pay per gallon.

Two years: Projected construction time.

For more information regarding the Lower Water Basin Treatment Plant, “like” the Town of Eagle on Facebook, sign up for the Eagle Today email newsletter or visit townofeagle.org/waterplant.