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Cucharas Board handles summer business

by Caitlin Dunn

CUCHARA — At the June 10 meeting of the Cucharas Sanitation and Water District, Shannon Shrout, who has assumed all duties as the Operator in Responsible Charge (ORC) of the district, gave the operations status report and told the board one valve and one actuator in the Spanish Peaks water treatment plant need to be replaced. New electricity and shelving repairs have been completed. He also reported the ski resort’s pump motor and station were out due to a lightning strike, but were replaced and “everything’s back up and running.” The wastewater plant’s flows are up, and it has been sampled recently. Shrout said they are finishing up the district’s roof issue, and deciding which path to take with the non-salvageable roof.

Administrative assistant Jennette Coe reported on the rules, regulations and policies committee, and said it has been difficult to find time to meet with “all the things going on.” So far, the committee has met once. Coe added the committee had addressed the issue of required licenses for contractors, and it suggested removing the requirement that the contractors hold either a water distribution or wastewater collection license. She stressed that if this is removed, contractors must still meet each of the district’s other requirements.

Board member Jim Berg interjected his wish to collect information and change many policy items at once instead of “piece by piece,” and Coe said she agreed, but the committee felt it was pertinent to change certain things right away. The board unanimously approved the committee’s recommendation.

Marshall Moore reported on behalf of the water stewardship committee and suggested adding another water tank at the top of the hill for safety, describing the single tank as an Achilles’ Heel. Moore added having an underground gallery system at this time would save money. The committee has received word from both spokespersons about South Baker Creek and from Robert Beck regarding the Britton Ponds, and received a very favorable response regarding lobbying for storage in the upper Cucharas River Basin.

Berg told the board San Isabel Electric is looking for a right-of-way to replace a cable from Cuchara to the ski resort. Board President Gerald Van Nort said the board “[owes] them some right-of-way.” San Isabel reportedly also wishes to replace cable from the ski resort to Hidden Valley. Berg suggested accumulating information on all properties and right-of-ways to “make sure we understand all right-of-way easements.” Berg also reported the White Creek diligence has been filed, with a normal amount of opposition.

Van Nort reported on the engineering study regarding water and wastewater improvements, saying they “have not had a study” since 2010. The district will be getting GMS Consulting Engineers to do a study on various water-related issues, such as filtration systems and tanks. Berg suggested making this effort part of the stewardship committee, and added, “I’ll be glad to do more than my share.” The committee would be guiding GMS in its study. The eligibility survey, regarding 20-year capital improvement needs, normally is done yearly by GMS and has been delayed until July.

Shrout alerted the board to land that is for sale adjacent to the Spanish Peaks water storage tank. According to Shrout, the landowner will be approached in regards to a lease or selling a piece of the land, an approximate eight-acre tract, and the district will find out whether or not it even touches the land where the tank is. The land may be an option to expand, depending on the footprint of another tank.