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Mancos considers options to improve wastewater operations

Town of Mancos officials are addressing several issues to improve the town’s water infrastructure.

A contractor and engineer are visiting town this week to inspect the wastewater treatment plant, Town Administrator Andrea Phillips said.

A sewage grinder — dubbed a “Muffin Monster” — was installed at the plant to help break down the sewage before it enters the plant, but the plant is still experiencing backups. Possible fixes include a bar screen that would physically screen out debris before it enters the plant, or an intake pond where debris would settle to the bottom before entering the plant.

“We are working on some tweaks to the wastewater treatment plant,” Phillips said. “But it could be expensive.”

Town staffers are testing a settling pond now to see if it would help, but it’s too soon to tell if the plant will need a bar screen, which would be costly, Phillips said.

The town has started an educational “Don’t Flush That” campaign over the past several months, but people are still flushing non-biodegradable materials down the drain, Phillips said. Workers have found kids toys, diapers, pairs of jeans and other materials in the system that won’t break down, she said.

“We are still trying to educate people,” Phillips said. “It’s expensive to take care of.”

People are advised not to flush wipes and diapers, even if they are labeled “flushable.” Medications, vitamins, fats, oils and leftover foods also should be left out of the drain.

Other items that should not be flushed include: bandages, bandage wrappers, condoms, feminine products, cotton balls, swabs and pads, dental floss, teeth whitening strips, hair, kitty litter, paint and other chemicals.

At last week’s Mancos Board of Trustees meeting, the board passed an ordinance regulating backflow prevention and cross-connection control.

Per state and federal mandates, all properties that are not single-family homes must have the proper cross-connection devices in place by 2020, Phillips said. The devices prevent contamination from sewage flowing back into the system.

Cross-connection control has already been part of the town code, but the mandates require communities to get in compliance by a certain date. Half of properties must be compliant by the end of the year, but Phillips said she believes most properties in town already are compliant.

Town staff members will be mailing a survey to property owners to determine whether any are not compliant. If a system on a person’s property needs repairs, the property owner will bear the cost of repairs.

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