Red Cliff plans to attack water, sewer problems |

Red Cliff plans to attack water, sewer problems

Tamara Miller

Red Cliff will not appeal the state’s order to fix its water and wastewater systems, and hopes to temporarily fix the town’s leaking water tank as early as this weekend, Mayor Ramon Montoya said.Montoya was awaiting state approval Friday on the town’s plans to patch a leak on the water treatment plant. By 2 p.m. Friday, Montoya had not heard back from the state. Attempts to reach state officials for comment Friday were unsuccessful.Red Cliff has been admonished by the state health department to fix its failing water treatment and wastewater systems. The town’s residents have endured on-again, off-again boil orders to ensure drinking water is safe when the water plant fails. The wastewater system doesn’t treat water properly, dumping contaminated fluid into the stream below. The town had a May 30 deadline to fix the water tank. May 30 was Sunday. The town plans to use money in its operating budget to put a temporary fix on the water plant. The state order demands a permanent fix under the guidance of an engineer. Montoya has sent a letter to the health department formally asking the state to extend the May 30 deadline to Nov. 30. During those six months, the town hopes to hire an engineer to assess the water tank and to come up with a permanent solution. “They are really looking for some good-faith effort and really some results,” Montoya said.In his request for a deadline extension, Montoya writes that the town is seeking a permanent fix to the water tank. In the meantime, Red Cliff will attempt to stop the leak by welding the outside of the tank. The temporary fix also includes plans to install a sump pump underneath the tank to prevent any water from leaking into a neighboring stream. The water in the sump pump will be routed to a temporary water tank next to the main tank. The water in that tank will be used for street cleaning and to moisten dust in and around town. After meeting with state officials earlier this month, Montoya said the town was considering appealing the enforcement order to avoid missing deadlines. The state has threatened to fine the town $1,000 a day for missing deadlines set in the order. Now, the town won’t pursue an appeal, he said.Red Cliff also has several other deadlines to comply with, though those are farther off. The town has already completed some of the items listed in the order, including proof that citizens were notified of a Dec. 23, 2003 boil water order as well as the town’s specific plans to comply with the state’s order.The town still is seeking grants from state and federal agencies to pay for permanent solutions to the water and wastewater systems.Staff writer Tamara Miller can be reached via e-mail at: or by calling 949-0555 ext. 607.

Support Local Journalism