In addition to planning for new water- and sewer-treatment plants, the city of Durango is preparing to tackle major water main projects this year.
The city will be building a new water main over the river near Santa Rita Park and replacing one water pipe crossing the Animas River behind Walmart, Steve Salka, the city utilities director, told the Utilities Commission on Monday night.
A secondary water-line river crossing that carries fresh water to the hospital has been down for two months, and the city is currently in the permitting process to replace it, Salka said.
The city expects the pipe to cost about $400,000, depending on the requirements of the permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, he said.
He is hopeful his department will receive the permit in the next 30 days, and construction on the crossing behind Walmart will begin immediately afterward.
Another new main is planned to connect Rogers Reservoir with the Animas-La Plata Project river intake, where water is currently taken out of the river and fed to Lake Nighthorse.
The main will allow the city to use pumps within the Animas-La Plata pump station near Santa Rita Park and pump water west to Rogers Reservoir. Service to Lake Nighthorse will not be impacted.
The new main will tie existing pipes together and is expected to cost about $780,000, Salka said. The pipe will also need to run through Santa Rita Park, and construction on that section is expected to start in spring.
Eventually, the city’s other 35 aging river crossings are going to need to be replaced, and Salka would like to start planning to replace those as well. But the department has been focused on managing infrastructure emergencies for much of the last three years.
“We have not had breathing space to be able to do the leg work ahead of time,” he said.
The focus likely will be on sewer crossings in the near future because they carry the greatest risk if they fail.
All of the projects have to be reviewed by the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure environmental impacts on the river can be mitigated and alternative crossings have been examined, said Kara Hellige, a member of the commission.
The board encouraged Salka to look for areas where crossings could be combined to limit disturbances to the river.