Western Slope Round-Up: Keeping Problems Contained

Poop Problem Puzzles Politicians
Whither Did Waste Go?
Doo-Doo Dump Down Delta Decries
Councilmen Concerned about Crapper Caper

No, we don’t make these stories up. Just the headlines. Come visit Colorado’s Western Slope….Missing Sludge Seeping into a Mystery
Public officials in Montrose and Delta Counties have noted an increase of new homes on individual septic systems, however the amount of sewage waste being collected has gone down in their counties. Where has this manure gone astray?

The Montrose Daily Press reports:

The peculiar lack of septic waste in Montrose and Delta counties has aroused the interest of several public officials.

“It’s something we’d prefer to just flush the toilet and not think about it,” West Montrose Sanitation District manager Randy See said. “Some people say this is a significant water quality issue.”

Residences not connected to municipal sewers use septic tanks to collect their waste. The Montrose County Board of Health requires septic tanks to be maintained and cleaned or pumped every four years since a resolution effective March 2006, according to a WMSD fact sheet.

As prices for accepting septic waste have increased, the number of gallons delivered to licensed facilities have fallen. A meeting regarding this issue transpired last week at the Montrose Regional Library District. City councilors, county commissioners, haulers, sanitarians and more from across the Western Slope gathered to discuss the septic matter.

“I think the issue of septage and the question being raised of the quantity of illegal dumping is something that would concern everyone in the city,” Montrose city councilor Noelle Hagan said. “It’s definitely an issue not going anywhere and most likely getting worse.”

Septic sludge sits and collects over a number of years whereas sewage is flushed into the public stream. Jerry Beard, owner of CB Industries in Delta, said municipalities often refuse the thick, heavy septic waste.

“By the time a turd gets down to the sewer plant it’s dissolved,” he said.

His company began operation immediately after Delta County ceased accepting septage. He brought a sheet to the meeting illustrating his company’s numbers since 2004.

“Since CB Industries started receiving septage there has been a 35% decrease in volume (32,500 gallons per month) despite significant growth in Delta and neighboring counties,” according to the sheet.

When sagebrush starts growing 10 feet high in Montrose and Delta Counties, we’ll know where the missing shit went.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketConstruction Time Zones
You’re a contractor trying to take advantage of the long summer days in the short building season in the mountain town of Eagle. It’s not unusual to have construction crews working 14-hour days, seven days a week between May and September.

But no more. You’ve just entered the Twilight Zone at 7 p.m.

From the Vail Daily:

The Eagle Town Board has approved an ordinance that could give some relief to citizens living in construction zones. The law, which will become effective on Sept. 23, limits construction activities to specific days and times.

Monday through Friday, construction can roll from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday’s hours are a bit shorter, with a 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. window.

Outside construction is prohibited on Sundays; although finish work and related activities are permitted within enclosed buildings from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. There is an emergency clause, which permits exceptions to the time limits.

Construction includes not only the operation of power equipment and noisy vehicles, but also loud talking, laughing, singing, music, deliveries, and the running of motors, engines, or generators.

Let’s see, what can construction workers do before 7 a.m. that doesn’t take power tools or engines, or evoke singing and deliveries? Drink coffee!

Not Hard to Dig Up Problems in Dinosaur
There are more than just old fossil bones in Dinosaur, Colorado. About 500 people live in this small town located in the northwest part of the state in Moffat County only three miles from the Utah border and 50 miles from Craig, the county seat. What elementary kids wouldn’t be proud to live on Triceratops Terrace or Brontosaurus Boulevard as their parents travel down Stegosaurus Freeway or Diplodicus Drive on their way to work?

Life is good in Dinosaur except for one thing: they live a heck of a long way from civilization. That was the source of the problems when Dinosaur town officials met recently with Moffat County Commissioners to discuss three important issues: trash, driver’s licenses and police protection.

To haul trash, Dinosaur residents must drive over 40 miles into another county to use the closest landfill in Meeker. Except that they don’t. Dinosaur mayor noted illegal trash dumps start at the edge of town. Moffat commissioners suggested a “clean up day” – the county would discount rates at their landfill, still 50 miles away.

The closest driver’s license office is in Rangely, 20 miles away. It, too, is in a different county than Dinosaur, so the town of Dinosaur – and the county — does not profit from the tax dollars.

Dinosaur Mayor Freda Powell noted that the town has secured housing for an additional law enforcement officer-now all Moffat County needs to do is fund one. (Hint, hint.)

One thing the Moffat County Commissioners cannot fix for the town: the Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center. The National Park Service closed down Dinosaur’s main tourist attraction last year because of the lack of funds to fix structural problems in the building.

Slow Planning Commission Members Get Pulled Over
The Montrose County Commissioners dissolved their planning commission for lingering on issues like the county master plan and being unable to come to a consensus on matters before the P&Z board.

Commissioners are going to replace the errant seven-member board with a five-person one.

From the Montrose Daily: Press

Despite months of at-times acrimonious planning commission meetings over the update of the county master plan, and complaints from the public, the BOCC said the action was not intended to be punitive.

“And I will stress that,” Montrose County Commissioner Allan Belt said.

Reading from a prepared statement, Belt also said the planning commission had originally been established as a five-person board and that current board members could reapply if the BOCC in fact voted to approve the dissolution.

In the interest of fairness, the statement said, the commissioners decided to scrap the current board.

  “The traditional way in this county has been table, table, table; stall, stall, stall,” Belt said. “We are going to make decisions for our departments.”

When deciders can’t decide, the decision has to be made for them. Great motto for Washington DC, too?