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PRWID Panel Concentrates on Resolving Hill Subdivision Controversy

By Sun Advocate

The subject of the Hill subdivision water system dominated the discussions that took place on Dec. 3 at the regular meeting of the Price River Water Improvement District governing board.
After three years of discussion and negotiation, it appears the board and developer Richard Lee have come to a point where the issue is much clearer than it has been.
While there have been a number of differences in developing the subdivisions water system, the discussions and decisions have now finally come down to the major issue of where a final pumping station will be located on the system.
The design for the final station that was submitted by Lee to PRWID was developed by Balaz and Associates, an engineering firm from Grand Junction, Colo.
For the past few months, district manager Phil Palmer has been working with the engineer to get the system up to what PRWID felt was proper standards to supply the correct pressure of water to residents of the subdivision as well as any future residents who might construct housing.
Some of the key sticking points have been overall water pressure, the number of connections that would be attached to the system, and how the system would work based on various changes the water district wished to see done versus what the developers engineer had planned.
Apparently, some miscommunication has also arisen periodically about various issues as the subdivision was developed.
Presently, there are three occupied homes in the subdivision with one more presently being constructed.
“We (PRWID) have been clear all along about what we needed before we could finalize the permits,” said Steve Denison, board chair.
The day after the meeting, PRWID legal counsel Nick Sampinos drew up a letter to clarify what had been declared at the gathering the night before and it was sent to Lee for his review and action.
The letter voiced appreciation for the input offered by Lee and Carbon County Commissioner Mike Milovich, who attended the meeting in support of the project.
Meetings involving the matter have included some hot discussions over time and, in many ways, the last Tuesday night PRWID board session was no different.
Some of that was because of expectations by the developer’s supporters that Palmer would have totally examined the design set forth by Balaz and completed a “model” based on the elevation.
In the end, cooler heads prevailed and PRWID board members told Lee the letter would be forthcoming and would spell out the specifics of the situation.
“PRWID wants to be sure that the water system which it may ultimately receive from you (Lee) is capable of adequately servicing the domestic irrigation and fire flow needs of the Hill subdivision,” said Denison in the letter. “PRWID is not desirous of accepting from you, or any other developer, any water system that will require an immediate upgrade or modification at PRWID’s expense.”
The letter goes on to state that the water district will not accept the design as completed and submitted to the board members on Oct. 2 as put together by Balaz.
The reasons for the non-acceptance included the following:
•The level of pressure from the main line that crosses the Price River cannot be increased, so the design which Balaz submitted will not work.
PRWID indicates that the water improvement district cannot increase that pressure due to system integrity concerns. That means that the 30 psi incoming pressure from the PRWID system that Balaz used in the design is not a real number that can be achieved.
The maximum that PRWID can provide at the intake point of the booster pump in question is 20 psi.
•The location of the booster pump on the system is also a problem.
The elevation at which Balaz set the pump in the design is 200 feet from an important tee in the system, while PRWID is requesting that the station be no more than 15 feet from the tee.
•According to the letter, PRWID also wants to be sure any home built west of the tee will have proper water delivery.
Apparently, a dispute has arisen between the parties at what altitude the highest home could be built in the area in question.

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