CUCHARA — While the Cucharas Sanitation and Water District has yet to issue a formal statement or final decision about the situation, Bob Northup is no longer its general manager. Although Board Chairman Art Pierce told the WJ that Northup is on “administrative leave,” Northup, contacted at home earlier this week, had a slightly different explanation. He described to the WJ that he and the board of directors “have been feuding and … haven’t seen eye-to-eye for seven months or so.” Northup, who worked at CSWD for over 20 years, said he was notified by CSWD while he was on vacation to “not return to work.” He says the board decided to terminate him, but he has not yet met with the board members, who conducted most of their discussion about the matter in executive session. “I don’t know right now what will happen,” Northup said. “They’ll have to find a new general manager.” By Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulations, CSWD, as a public utility, needs to have on staff at all times
during operating hours a supervisor who possesses certain water and wastewater facility operator certifications. Northup has those certifications, although his “distribution” certification reportedly recently expired. Northup also explained that none of the other current CSWD staff members has all of the required certifications. For that reason, it appears the district is out of compliance with CDPHE regulations at this time, and the general manager position will likely not be filled soon from within. Staff member Russell Keeling was at the meeting to provide the general manager’s report on behalf of Northup. According to Keeling, a damaged service line near the Barclay house has been repaired. He also said another sewer line connection has been made from a residence to the new line in Panadera Vista. More filter media has been added to the Spanish Peaks water treatment system. Keeling reported that the staff has been battling with certain paper products showing up at the sewage treatment plant and clogging up screens. He explained the plan is to replace the screens, and the project is ongoing. Keeling also reported the Cuchara plant is at full capacity. Lois Adams, representing an Internet provider, asked the board for permission to consider CSWD property for Internet antenna sites. According to Pierce, the board agreed to allow for the consideration of the land, but did not give permission at this time, pending more details. Pierce said, “We do want people to get more Internet.” Cal Sandbeck reported on behalf of the pond owner committee. According to Sandbeck, the pond owners have spoken with their engineer, Jeris Danielson, and also one or two attorneys about what they think it will take to get a permanent augmentation plan through water court. The CSWD board agreed to schedule the district’s lawyers to talk to the pond owner committee’s lawyers in a workshop on July 24. With attorneys and engineers from both groups present, Pierce said, “We’ll see if we can focus in on a resolution.” The Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA), which has been a topic of discussion for many months, has been tabled for now. The board is currently waiting on a permit to fix the roof of the office building, and construction is scheduled to start soon.