Edwards water treatment plant nears completion | VailDaily.com

Edwards water treatment plant nears completion

Cliff Thompson

The 16,000-square-foot facility, immediately east of the Edwards Rest Area, brings to four the number of plants supplying water to communities from East Vail to Wolcott.

The new plant, capable of delivering five million gallons of water per day, will take the pressure off the Avon plant, which last summer reached 90 percent of its capacity.

That’s too close for comfort, says Dennis Gelvin, general manager of the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District. The new plant is scheduled to go online Sept. 1.

“This new plant will now meet build-out in our service area,” says Gelvin, adding that the population from Wolcott east is someday expected to reach 40,000 people. Additional filters can be added to the plant, doubling its capacity, if necessary.

In the fact of the worst drought in 500 years, Gelvin says declining streamflows may require releases of water stored in reservoirs to prevent interruptions of domestic supplies.

The new plant was delayed by approximately six months, when a spat erupted between the district and Colorado Department of Transportation over an easement for access through the rest area. The spat also added $600,000 in expenses to the project, Gelvin said, including the cost of a redesigned entryway to the rest area, a contractor’s lost time, and dirt storage fees.

The Edwards plant’s microfiltration system, meanwhile, can remove particles as small as 0.1 micron, as well as giardia lamblia, a naturally occurring intestinal parasite. And unlike the Avon plant, the new facility can be operated by remote control, requiring only periodic daily visits from technicians.

When the plant becomes operable, it will provide redundancy for water supplies, allowing water suppliers to breathe a little easier. Until now, if a catastrophic failure had hit either the Vail or Avon plants, Gelvin says, water shortages could have resulted.

Also coming on line is a new $1.8 million,1 million gallon per-day microfiltration plant that will serve East Vail.

Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555 eat 450 or cthompson@vaildaily.com

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