Red Cliff wrestling with wastewater |

Red Cliff wrestling with wastewater

Dustin Racioppi
Red Cliff, CO Colorado

RED CLIFF, Colorado ” The end-of-year goal set by County Commissioners last January for a new wastewater treatment plant in Red Cliff has come and gone.

Now, county officials are pinning hopes on getting a cut of that elusive economic stimulus plan pitched by President Barack Obama.

“They’ve got to get it fixed,” said Tom Johnson, Eagle County’s public works director. “We’re hoping to get stimulus for it. That’s where the focus is today.”

The county stepped in last year to give support to the tiny town plagued by major problems. Its wastewater treatment plant can’t handle the amount of water going in and therefore the water doesn’t get fully treated.

Because most of the county is downriver from Red Cliff, Johnson said there’s an interest for the county to try and help. Plus, it would be easier for the county to get funding for major projects, Johnson added.

But that hasn’t been the case to this point. The U.S.D.A. recently denied funding the entire $4 million overhaul of the plant, according to a memo from Greg Schroeder of the county engineering department. That’s why money from the federal government is so important, Johnson said ” even if it doesn’t cover the whole cost.

“We can bridge a lot of that,” Johnson said. “It’s just putting together a funding package that works, and one that hopefully Red Cliff can pay for.”

Johnson said he thinks Red Cliff has a good shot at getting some sort of help, considering how long the problem has existed and the fact that preliminary plans to fix it have already been approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“I think legitimately, we’re ready, so I think that gives us a leg up,” Johnson said.

Dustin Racioppi can be reached at 970-748-2936 or

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