New Phippsburg plant site weighed

Routt County is considering an alternate site for a new water treatment facility in Phippsburg.

The county has discussed a site owned by Union Pacific Railroad with the railroad, but the county is concerned a deal cannot be completed in time to break ground on the new plant this year.

Today, Routt County commissioners will discuss buying an alternate piece of land from the Iacovetto family. The 0.2-acre parcel would come in part from land subdivided from Ray and Louise Iacovetto's land and in part from land owned by Elvis Iacovetto.

Recommendations for a permit for the alternate location is scheduled to come before the Routt County Board of Planning Commissioners on Thursday. The county already has a permit for expanding facilities at the Union Pacific location.

Routt County has received a grant of $300,000 and loan of $131,000 from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for the project, which is designed to bring the water facility up to state standards.

Phippsburg's current facility can disinfect water and control corrosion, but under the Colorado Safe Drinking Water Regulations, the water also should be filtrated. The treatment plant was built in 1980 and does not have enough space for filtration equipment, so a new building is necessary.

Michael Zopf, director of Routt County Environmental Health, said that the new site has several advantages over the original site.

First, there is better access to the land now owned by the Iacovettos. The land is on Colorado Highway 131 and Wilson Street, and a driveway of only about 50 feet would be necessary, Zopf said. That means less plowing and road maintenance.

The site owned by the railroad would require a half-mile drive along the railroad right of way east of the tracks as well as two railroad crossings, which could result in more costs, Zopf said.

The railroad site also could require an annual easement payment for the access, a payment the county would not have to make with the Iacovetto property.

"We're just keeping our options open and not only looking at the site we're trying to get from the railroad," Zopf said.

Another benefit of the Iacovetto property is that the Iacovettos are close to negotiating a deal with the county, whereas negotiations with the railroad already have gone on for 18 months without a deal.

"It's such a small matter for the railroad and such a large bureaucracy. We're dealing with multiple people at multiple locations," Zopf said.

The Iacovettos have been "longstanding supporters" of the Phippsburg Water and Sanitation District and are willing to work on a deal that benefits both parties, Zopf said.

A meeting with the Iacovettos could take place next week to start negotiating a price for the land.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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