The Roxborough Water and Sanitation District has begun the process to build a new water treatment plant, before catastrophe strikes.
The Roxborough water treatment plant, at more than 50 years old, has lasted beyond the end of its useful life and, according to the district board, it's not a matter of whether disaster will strike, it's a matter of when.
The district is waiting to hear from its customers who must decide how to pay for a new facility, estimated to cost as much as $23 million.
The new plant will replace the one purchased in 1972 from Aurora Water, according to the district. The existing plant was built in 1958 and refurbished at the time of the purchase. It has outlasted its expected 30-year lifespan by about 20 years, according to the district board.
The aged facility has sustained structural failures, fallen victim to corrosion and deterioration and must be replaced before a “catastrophic structural failure” occurs and shuts down operations, said Larry Moore, district manager.
Completion of a new facility will cap a long-term water plan that ensures delivery of water to Roxborough residents for the next 100 years, he said.
Moore was instrumental in reaching a 2010 deal with Aurora Water to get water to Roxborough residents in what Moore calls the most comprehensive, sustainable water plan in Douglas County.
In the deal, Roxborough signed a 99-year lease with Aurora to buy into the Aurora system for $22.3 million, securing water to serve Roxborough's build-out population of 3,800 units.
The deal does not allow Roxborough to sell water outside of its boundaries, which means the Roxborough plant will not be designed to serve residents in surrounding neighborhoods, including the proposed Sterling Ranch development, Moore said.
With long-term water secured, construction of a new plant is the final phase to place Roxborough in the right position to protect property values years into the future, Moore said.
“This has been my life's goal to get this water deal done,” he said. “Once we get this (plant) done the only thing we have left is to (maintain) pipes in the ground. We're a complete community for water and sewer.”
A video tour of the existing water treatment facility is on the district website, showcasing the deteriorating condition of the existing plant.
The district announced its plans in 2012 and in December sent a questionnaire to customers asking them to select one of three payment options for financing the new plant.
Among the options are a $20 monthly hike in water rates, beginning in March or April, which would allow the board to move forward with design and financing in the first quarter of 2013; a $10 fee, which would double to $20 by 2014 and delay the start of construction by about 12 months; or a $5 fee that would increase every six months to a $20 fee by 2014, which would delay start of construction by about 18 months.
The district has about $5 million in capital reserves to contribute to the plant and is aiming for a 30-year note to pay the balance, Moore said.
Moore has been fielding residents' questions, many of which revolve around the district's policy to limit outdoor watering during the summer to twice a week. The board has yet to vote on watering restrictions, Moore said. The new plant will have a 4 million-gallon-per-day treatment capacity, double that of the existing plant.
“The strongest point for me is that it helps meet our duty to provide a good quality water system to our customers,” Moore said. “What this will do, now that we have a permanent water supply completed with Aurora, is that we're good for the long haul.”