Mosca sewer project on time, under budget

ALAMOSA — Save for a few lingering items, the Mosca wastewater infrastructure improvement project is now complete and operational. Town residents have been waiting roughly 20 years for a replacement for their inadequate cluster septic system that repeatedly overflowed.

The new sequencing batch reactor, designed and delivered by Fluidyne for $298,480, saves the county roughly $50,000 a year from repairing the old flailing septic tanks. Though there was a slight delay in shipping materials due to 2017's Hurricane Harvey, construction was completed on time and under budget.

"We still have almost $100,000 in contingency funds," Alamosa County Land Use Administrator Rachel Baird said during Wednesday's county commissioners meeting.

Alamosa County received monetary assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture with a $159,000 loan and $655,000 grant. Last summer those funds were in jeopardy when the county was hesitant to award the bid to Robins Construction for $834,655 because they wanted to go with the slightly more expensive, yet more local, company of Cooley and Sons Excavating Inc., with a bid price of $839,329.

Additionally, the county was able to afford the project with help from their community development fund, which used revenue from the county's solar farms.

"If it hadn't been for our community development fund, it would have been tough," said Alamosa County Commissioner Darius Allen. "We were fortunate to have that available and I think everything turned out well."

Mosca residents began using the system on Jan. 15 but it wasn't until this week that the county took control of the completed project. Fred Hand was introduced at the meeting as the licensed operator and Alamosa County Road and Bridge Director Tim DeHerrera is trained to maintain the system along with four of his employees. It will be checked four days a week and personnel will automatically be called if any alarm goes off.

"It's designed to be low maintenance and take care of itself," Baird said.

Aside from a four-foot pipe stand and a desk for the operations building, all that remains is from Robins Construction to repair the roads where the system was installed. Due to unavailable materials and weather conditions the company has until June 1 to pave the crossings.

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the system is schedule for Feb. 20 from 5:30 to 6:30 at the Mosca Fellowship Hall at 5375 Barker St.