By Lyndsie Ferrell
SOUTH FORK— During the South Fork Town Board work session on Sept. 11, town Administrator Dan Hicks gave the board an update on the town’s water system project. The town announced in early July that they planned on pursuing a municipal water system revitalization project plan and have begun the very first stages of getting it in place.
South Fork, like many small Colorado communities, including several within the Valley have been working to restore their municipal water systems for several years. One of the main issues that town’s like South Fork face is the high cost associated with such a project and finding funding that would help pay for the project to get underway.
According to a summary of the project, the need for a new water system was originally identified in 2010 in a water system master plan. In the plan presented to the board it stated, “The need for both improved water distribution systems and a water supply system to serve at least two of the larger subdivisions within the town has become apparent. The two subdivisions, which were identified in the original master plan are, Ponderosa Estates and Dakota Park. Both systems and a few nearby private water systems and individual wells have aged so they are inadequate to serve water users.”
The plan continues to state that, “In Ponderosa Estates it has not become uncommon for homes to go without water for several days before the system can be repaired. Further, state court approved regulations are imminent that will require replacement of depletions to senior surface water rights resulting from well use. Failure to replace these depletions to the adjacent rivers will cause the Colorado Division of Water Resources and the state court system to demand that wells, without replacement plans, be shut off.”
During the meeting, Hicks stated that he was able to locate potential funding for disadvantaged communities that could allow the town to apply for a $3 million loan with low interest rates. So far, the town has been able to complete and submit a 2018 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWRF) survey which was accepted by mid-July. “We also have submitted the DWRF pre-qualification application and attended a meeting with the EPA. I was recently told that the application was approved,” stated Hicks.
The town is working with Davis Engineering to complete the first phases of the project plan and to identify funding to help with the costs. “We are also talking with the Department of Local Affairs and other grant makers about additional funding that could potentially help with planning costs as well as design and engineering costs,” stated Hicks.
The town hopes to have a plan and secure funding for the water system project in place by the end of 2019, with construction beginning in the fall.