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PAWSD and town: a worthy idea, a bit too late

At last week’s Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board meeting, District Manager Ed Winton asked the directors an interesting question: “Why should the town build a new wastewater treatment plant if PAWSD has one about seven miles away operating at an average of 25 percent capacity?”

Winton explained that he had spoken with Pagosa Springs Town Manager David Mitchem regarding the proposed wastewater treatment facility the Pagosa Springs Sanitation and General Improvement District is ready to construct.

According to Winton, he suggested that, instead of building the new wastewater facility, the town could build infrastructure such as a lift station and pipeline to tie into the PAWSD Vista Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The question, Winton said, was whether or not the Town Council had gone too far in the engineering process for the new plant.

In an interview with SUN staff, Mitchem said that the town, indeed, has gone too far in the engineering process.

“We are already so deep (in the project),” Mitchem said. The engineering for the project is done, and the financing, which took the town years to arrange, is also basically complete. “The project is essentially done,” Mitchem said.

The next step is for the town to bid the project. Mitchem said that, depending on how the bids come back, the town and PAWSD may have further discussions about ways in which they can work together to efficiently treat wastewater.

“We appreciate the idea and the offer,” Mitchem said, adding that he wished it had come several years earlier.

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