The seeping ditch swamps La Veta meeting

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA– Is there any issue that is brought before the La Veta Town Board more often than water? 

    Bob and Lisa Northup, who have previously sought audience regarding their water meter, were back to request relief on a $2,219 water bill caused apparently by one or more leaks.  Trustee Dawn Blanken apologized but said, “We need to abide by the policy that exists.”  That policy requires full payment.  In the end, however, the matter was tabled because several Trustees felt the current practice of estimating water bills over the winter has caused hardship for consumers with leaking water lines.

    Donna Adams and Mike Heck were on hand to plead that something be done about the seeping Dyer Ditch (also referred to as the Francisco-Dagger Ditch).  Adams stated that the seepage is causing ruts in the road on High Street, mosquito problems, and flooding in her home.  Mayor Schmidt gave the audience a historical summary of the Dyer Ditch problem, which he called “chronic.”  Although the Town of La Veta, the Andreattas and the City of Walsenburg planned at one point to pipe the ditch, they were stopped by the Division 2 Water Engineer’s Office because “return flows” would have been affected. The Board decided to find out if the Division 2 decision still stands and to determine if piping the ditch could be reconsidered.

    Kevin Tautkus, a representative of CGRS Environmental Services, explained proposed  monitoring wells on Town property.  The wells are required as part of the investigation by the Division of Oil and Public Safety into the underground release of petroleum products about four months ago at La Veta Oil.  It is believed that the contamination was caused by a leak at the front dispenser which has since been repaired by the owner, Joe Geiser.  CGRS plans to do soil borings and drill six twenty-foot deep monitoring wells at the following Town properties: the Town maintenance facility, the fire station location, Main and Moore,  the baseball field north of the railroad tracks,  and two on West Moore.  These are expected to last beyond remediation, possibly three to five years. The cost of cleanup will be paid from the Petroleum Storage Tank Reimbursement Fund. The Fund comes from Colorado′s environmental response surcharge fee, collected on each tanker load (8,000 gallons) of fuel for sale or use in Colorado.

    In other business, the Board accepted an application for replat of the lots at 300 West First Street. Because the application requires an amendment to the zoning map, it will be discussed during a public hearing on Aug. 5 at 6:45 pm. The regular Board meeting will be held the same evening at 7 pm.