The state health department and the Environmental Protection Agency are requiring commercial and industrial water lines to be equipped with backflow devices which prevent the spread of contaminated water into a community’s drinking water system. The Holly Trustees were briefed on the development during their monthly January meeting by Mark Hartman, a water circuit rider, representing the Colorado Rural Water Association in Pueblo. The governing state ordinance 11.39(1), regarding the Backflow Prevention and Cross-Connection Control Rule, states that, “For all public water systems, the supplier must comply with the requirements specified in this rule beginning January 1, 2016.” The devices need to be installed at a reachable service line or a plumbing fixture and must be inspected annually to maintain their proper function. Holly Town Administrator, Jerry L’Estrange, presented the Trustees with a sample ordinance on the regulations last month for their review.
Hartman suggested the Trustees become pro-active in their efforts to achieve compliance before the state steps in and begins to levy fines and penalties for any delays. “The faster you work on this, the better off you will be in determining your own timeline for completion,” he stated, adding that the state health department isn’t showing a lot of leniency right now when it comes to issuing fines. “The state will come in and do an audit, a Sanitary Survey, to make sure your water system is in compliance with state regulations,” he explained. Usually, a community is given 120 days to make needed corrections to make sure that all public water systems are protected from backflow potential. He added, “The sooner you begin to make corrections after you receive results from your Sanitary Survey, it shows that you’re acting in earnest as opposed to delaying which could be interpreted that you’re acting in duress, and that could make a difference with the state.” Each customer, he said, would be responsible for having the device installed at their location.
L’Estrange said the Trustees need to agree on and approve an ordinance which will follow the rules and regulations for the backflow devices. Hartman said there are usually four steps which a community should follow to get set up: develop an ordinance, outline and plans and regulations, take a survey of all the commercial and industrial customers and provide a public education campaign so residents become aware of the needs for the system. He estimated the timeline to take about a year and a half for the project for Holly. He added that the town is not alone in this situation as all small communities throughout the state will be impacted.
On other matters, L’Estrange informed the Trustees that the Holly/Granada Economic Development Assessment meeting is progressing. The meeting is open to the public and will be held from 4pm to 9pm at the Granada Complex on January 20. The meeting will focus on developing Agri-business and Agri-Tourism in each community. Bids have been sent out for replacement of the town’s repair shop roof and should be returned no later than February 5th. Now that the 2016 budget is set, the town will begin work on the South Well which has developed problems with the amount of sediment that is being pumped up with the water. The town is still seeking an employee who can work in the power plant and on electrical issues. L’Estrange said perhaps a crew boss or a journeyman lineman from the local area may become interested. The applications have already been received.
The Trustees closed the regular meeting to go into executive session to hold negotiations effecting town licensing.
By Russ Baldwin
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