Sun, Feb. 23

Where is the sewer?<br><i>After a murky start, CV pushes toward expansion</i>

Staff photo by Carol Keefer

It’s the "guts of our entire system," says Board Chair Suzy Burnside, seen inside the new lift station Wednesday morning along with Arizona Department of Transportation’s William Farrow.

Although, there is no exact date slated for digging to begin, Burnside did indicate progress is being made and believes the time is fast approaching.

She said that land acquisition is in its final stage with the completed paperwork in the Forest Service’s Regional office in Albuquerque and that the district is waiting word for a go ahead.

She also confirmed that the district has its Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) approvals, a major step. Burnside said that an extensive environmental study has been completed involving many agencies. She added that the district was very encouraged by the results following all the research and evaluation.

"In over 20 years, there were no negative impacts to the surrounding environment [at the treatment plant]. To the contrary, the existing duck ponds have attracted a wide variety of birds and wildlife since they were built," she said.

Burnside said that the lender, Rural Development, is now conducting its last review of plans and specifications. They will then issue permission for the district to proceed. She said that before construction can begin, they must "bid the project, allocate assessments when the costs are known, and conduct the final public hearings and protest periods on the assessment amounts."

Active development for the Camp Verde sewer expansion project started in 1998 with discussions dating back to 1990. When completed, the expansion will include a new wastewater treatment plant and additional sewer service to businesses near Interstate 17 among several others.

She agrees the district has had an inordinate amount of hoops to jump and certainly had no idea it would be so complicated when first elected to the board in 1998. But she, like another longtime board member, Stan Bullard, is determined to see it through.

"It’s been a long and sometimes wearisome task," she offered "but it’s looking very positive for the community."

Bullard, board secretary-treasurer, agreed.

"We see a light at the end of the tunnel in the long process of the expansion of the sewer system," he said. "Even though we’ve had a lot of interference, we’re getting extremely close to going out to bid. Some of the unknowns associated with the project were limitations based on state law.

"When we chose an engineer, we were educated about certain limitations and restrictions. Through this process, it appears that many other state agencies that deal with projects, do not experience as many restrictions. Engineering firms are able to perform relatively easy in those environments. Even through this process, we have managed to get through the majority of the red tape and will build the project as soon as we get the final approvals."

Among its many obstacles, the district has experienced a high turnover in staff, a problem Burnside equates to many organizations going through similar growing pains. She was extremely complimentary of the district’s employees.

"The day-to-day affairs of the district are being well handled by a very competent staff," she offered.

Asked why so devoted to a project that has had its share of setbacks, problems and holdups, Bullard remarked, "I ran to help the community, and once I have decided to commit to a project, I like to complete it regardless of the results."

Burnside agrees. "I really felt I could contribute to the community by building a simple sewer line from Point A to Point B. And, like Stanley, when committed to a project, I like to see it through to completion."

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