Help, ideas come from the community
Bob Will is trying to help his town. The Red Cliff resident attended a town meeting Monday night in hopes of getting a grasp on the town’s water and sewage treatment plant problems. He even suggested the town contact a Colorado company that can suck sludge out of wastewater tanks. It might not solve all of Red Cliff’s problems, but it’s a step, he said. “It’s not even a very big step,” he said. “Well, they have to do something or the state is going to shut it down.”What exactly could happen to Red Cliff if it doesn’t meet state deadlines to fix both plants is unclear. The state health department has threatened to fine the town daily, and even prosecute town officials. Some have suggested that liens could be put on Red Cliff homeowners’ property. However, an official with the state health department can’t recall that happening to a town.Nevertheless, many residents are trying to get more involved in the town’s problems, or at least educate themselves about the problems – even if they’ve never been affected by untreated water themselves.
“I’ve always drank the Red Cliff water,” said Mia Tucholke, a resident. “I’ve never been sick. But that’s beside the point. Whether it’s our sewage treatment or water treatment plants, we have to follow the rules.”Funds in Red Cliff are more than scarce. While the town attempts to locate grants, or refinance its outstanding loans to lower their payments, local residents and officials are trying to assist.Dennis Gelvin, director for the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, has helped Red Cliff from time to time. The district serves communities from Vail to Edwards. While Red Cliff has asked for assistance from time to time, there have never been talks of the town joining the district, he said. Town officials have asked Gelvin to send employees to train Red Cliff’s water and wastewater staff, to share some of the district’s equipment and to help them detect water leaks more accurate and efficiently. Still, town officials have their work cut out for them.”Red Cliff faces a lot of challenges and not much money,” he said.