Ignacio businesses and multi-family housing units are now required to install backflow prevention devices on their water service line, if they don't already have it. It's to avoid a possible source of contamination of the town water system.
Town trustees approved an ordinance on Feb. 15 giving the town authority to survey affected businesses to see whether they have the device.
It's to have a written document, as required by the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) "giving us authority over all commercial and multi-family housing," Public Works Director Jeremy Schulz said. "The state requires it. ... It grants us the right of entry to do the surveys and determine what's needed."
Interim Town Manager Mark Garcia said, "The law has been on the books probably a decade. It's an unfunded mandate" because the cost falls on businesses and owners of multi-family properties. "The state has gone from fairly lenient to fairly stern" on enforcement.
The state requires annual inspections of affected properties, he said. That can be done by town staff, or the town can delegate it to a private operator, such as a plumber. "This (ordinance) is the first step. Jeremy and his staff are prepared to take some training, but we haven't decided whether to take it on," Garcia said.
Shulz advised there's no grandfathering from the state on the backflow prevention requirement, and all costs are borne by the customer. If a device is needed, he guessed it could cost from $12 to $150 or $300.
Trustee Tom Atencio commented, "We have to let people know that this cost is coming and it's mandatory."
Garcia said there's a compliance schedule, so that not all affected buildings have to comply at once. Schulz added that they all will have to have the appropriate device by 2020.
Trustees also approved a snow route ordinance that might have gotten use this week.
"We've had some issues of being able to remove snow from streets without (dealing with) obstacles," Development Director Dan Naiman said. "We don't have anything that people need to move vehicles."
Garcia added, "We had a snow event about two weeks ago that heightened the need for this ordinance. We felt it would be easier in a snow event to not allow parking at all in a snow event and plow to the middle" of the street.
The ordinance designates primary snow routes on Browning, Lakin, Becker and Romero, and secondary routes on Arboles, Ignacio, and Empire streets. Other streets could be designated as needed.
The ordinance says, "A snow event is declared whenever there is three or more inches of non-drifted snow, sleet, or ice on an Emergency Snow Route beginning at 12:01 a.m. and continuing for a 24 hour period. Vehicles, trailers, RVs, or apparatus occupying space shall not be parked along Emergency Snow Routes during a snow event."
Also on Feb. 15, trustees met with new Southern Ute Growth Fund Executive Director Raymond Baker.
"We are here to serve, to be stewards of the land, an ambassador of the tribe," Baker said.
Trustee Atencio noted the town's ongoing concerns about what the tribe charges for sewage treatment. "Our utilities are under the Growth Fund. Can we set up a meeting to discuss our concerns... to see if we can come up with some of the answers we need?" He advised, "We've approached the tribe and haven't gotten much correspondence from them."
Baker said, "It's on the radar." He noted he doesn't speak for the tribal government.