P'burg water/land contract expected today

Routt County is expected to buy land in Phippsburg for a water treatment building, a crucial step to making the improvements this year.

The county started looking at the project three years ago, but with delays caused by the higher-than-expected costs of the project and difficulties with the Union Pacific Railroad, construction has yet to begin.

County commissioners are expected to sign a contract today to buy small parcels from Louise Iacovetto and Elvis Iacovetto for $8,000, county attorney John Merrill said.

The parcels are adjacent to Colorado Highway 131, just south of the Phippsburg city limits, Routt County Environmental Health Director Michael Zopf said.

"(The project) should be completed by the end of the year, and that will certainly improve and protect the water supply serving the people down there," Zopf said.

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

Routt County has received a grant of $300,000 and loan of $131,000 from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to bring the facility up to state standards. Water rates also have been increased to help pay for the improvements, with another increase expected in 2005.

The county originally planned to put the building on property owned by Union Pacific Railroad, where the existing building is, but delays in negotiations with the railroad company led to talks with the Iacovettos about buying the alternative site.

After the official contract is signed today, engineers will complete their design, and the project will go out to bid, with construction ideally beginning this spring, Zopf said.

The current building will be demolished, he said.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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