Hahn's Peak wastewater up for talks

County commissioners today will discuss concerns about wastewater in Hahn's Peak Village with a Fort Collins company that requested the meeting.

The company coming before county commissioners, Integrated Water Services, develops water and wastewater systems in rural areas. Representatives could not be reached for comment.

Company officials said they have met with some residents about the wastewater situation and have ideas for solutions, said Routt County Environmental Health Director Michael Zopf.

Water and wastewater issues in the village have been an important issue to the county for the past decade, Zopf said.

Houses in Hahn's Peak each have their own well or stream to get water and their own septic tanks, outhouses or other systems to dispose of waste.

Because houses are close together, there is concern about wastewater getting into the soil and then into the water that residents drink, Zopf said.

"The very small lot sizes coupled with the close proximity of water and wastewater facilities is not a good mix," Zopf said.

For a house to have its own septic and water system, county regulations state it must be on five acres. Hahn's Peak was designed before those regulations existed, and most of its lots are about 0.25 acres.

A few years ago, the county funded a preliminary study to look into options for dealing with the village's water and wastewater situation. An option favored in the report was to work with Steamboat Lake State Park to expand its facility, but the county has not been able to pursue that alternative, Zopf said.

There have not been reported violations of health standards, Zopf said.

"But we just know the community wastewater system is something that would really improve the health, safety and welfare of people up there," he said.

Sewage could pose a health risk because of bacteria, such as E. coli, and other viruses and nitrates, Zopf said.

Zopf stressed that the county is meeting with the company today to hear what its representatives have to say, and the meeting is not a signal that the county is going to commit to any service.

County Commissioner Doug Monger said putting in water and wastewater systems in the community is a divisive issue for residents in Hahn's Peak.

Some residents support such systems whole-heartedly, while others do not want the cost that comes along with the improvements, he said.

Monger also said he would want to see support from the community before pushing for any other studies or improvements.

"I'm hesitant of driving something up there without having some community support and having it driven by the community," Monger said. That desire has not always been there in the past, he said.

Routt County commissioners will discuss wastewater issues in Hahn's Peak with Integrated Water Services at 11:15 a.m. today in the Commissioners Hearing Room of the Courthouse Annex.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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