July 2004

Project update: Spaulding Peak Water Treatment Plant


             The new Association treatment plant is called the Spaulding Peak Plant, but it is not located on, or even very near Spaulding Peak. It does have a pretty good view of that distinctive symmetrical knob, which lies alongside Surface Creek a couple of miles upstream from our intake. And it offers a superb view of those downstream dwellers in Cedaredge, Eckert, Cory, Delta, Olathe, and Pea Green. On a clear day you can see Colona.

             Not that the site was chosen for these attributes, oh no. The site was chosen for sound engineering reasons, based on hydraulic gradient, soil suitability, and the fact that it was the only parcel available to us. Being beautiful is just a happy accident.

             Since this letter is typically written ten days before you get it, some of what is reported here should be taken on faith, by both the reader and the author. In other words it may not have happened exactly this way, but we expected it to have happened this way. If it really didn’t, oh well that’s life.

             The treatment plant building shell is done, meaning it has walls and a roof, doors and windows. The walls are of cinder block, in a sandstone color with a rough face on the outside, and a smooth face on the inside. The roof is steel, in a color called “rawhide” which means sort of tan.

             The blocks were laid by Harrison Masonry of Grand Junction. Their job was fast and precise. Block was chosen over a steel building for several reasons. One, it is a more secure structure. As a by-product of the Homeland Security Act, major emphasis is now being placed on the security of drinking water facilities. It occurred to us that any moron with a screw gun can dismantle and walk through the wall on a typical steel building in a few minutes. It is true that the same moron with a sledge hammer can eventually batter his way into a block structure, but he might be too tired to remember what he was going to do when he got in.

             Another reason for a block building is flies. You would simply not believe the problem that flies present to a water treatment plant. After all, you can’t go after them with a can of Raid, or light off bug bombs. Imagine the consequences if a molecule of pesticide found its way into the water supply and was detected. So, treatment plants which are not fly-tight (as any steel building) must cope with millions of flies, usually reaching a peak in October. The job of vacuuming up the carcasses is no joke. So, we opted for a building which is naturally well sealed to keep out the black horde.

             Interior work is proceeding in the plant, such as plumbing and electrical wiring, in preparation for the arrival of the major filtration equipment in the second week of July. After that, there is the hookup of the piping, wiring of motors, installation of chlorination and chlorine dioxide equipment, and the completion of the raw water and finished water lines to bring water to the plant and deliver the finished produce to our system.

             Look for water from our new plant to arrive at your tap in September. If we did our job right, you will not notice a difference. If it suddenly tastes bad, smells nauseating, and turns your sheets algae green, you can be assured we have a list of subcontractors to blame for it.