Love’s development depends on wastewater facility

By John Gardner
The Surveyor

The Town of Berthoud is getting creative as it moves forward with development at the Interstate 25 intersection. But, according to Town Administrator Mike Hart, being creative is just part of problem solving, and in the end, if it works out, the town and all parties involved will benefit.

“If all the dots get connected we’ve got a fairytale story that’s solved a lot of problems,” Hart said.

The highly anticipated development of a Love’s Travel Stop at the intersection of I-25 and Highway 56, east of Berthoud, announced the Berthoud location in December last year. The travel stop includes a convenience store, a McDonalds and Subway restaurants, a truck tire center, truck parking for professional drivers, and a hotel.

However, the development has one major hurdle to overcome: building a wastewater treatment plant to serve the area.

“Nothing has happened at that area because of the lack of wastewater treatment facility,” Hart said.

As early as four years ago, Hart said the town determined that a 500,000 gallon plant would take between three to four years to construct at a cost of between $8 and $10 million. That price tag includes a full wastewater facility that could accommodate a lot of growth at the location. But the cost to a town of limited revenues made the project prohibitive, according to Hart.

“Even if they had built a plant back then, we’d still had to have figured out how to pay for it,” he said.

The Serenity Ridge development, near the proposed Love’s development, currently has a “package” wastewater plant that serves residents there. However, according to Berthoud’s Public Works Director Stephanie Brothers, the package plant’s capacity is only 64 residential homes and isn’t capable of accommodating commercial developments in the area. The facility is only nine years old but was always intended to be a temporary plant until a permanent plant was built in the area.

Building a permanent and full wastewater facility still isn’t a viable option, according to Hart. But the town and developers have come up with an idea that benefits all.

The solution, according to Hart, lies in the town’s recently renovated wastewater plant in town.

“There is a lot of capacity there now,” Hart said. “The town can grow a lot and be in good shape with that plant.”

The plan is to build a smaller plant, around 100,000-gallon capacity, or about one-fifth the size of the previously proposed plant, that would process liquid waste only, while the solid waste would be trucked back to the town’s current facility for processing.

“We decided that we’ll just get a truck for now and bring those solids back to this plant where we’ve already paid for the equipment,” Hart said.

The smaller plant option could be built for a fraction of the price, Hart said. Instead of $8 to $10 million, the smaller option is estimated at about $2.5 million; and the project duration could be completed within 12-15 months. The plant would be a modular plant that could be added on to as the need grows, as well. The location for the plant is expected to be on a 20-acre parcel east of I-25.

Currently, the town is reaching out to others who may have an interest in helping fund the project; however, Hart was unable to provide specifics on interested investors at this point.

“That’s where we’re at right now, but that is still being negotiated, so I can’t speak to that point,” he said.

The town is also applying for a $1 million grant to help cover a good portion of the costs, and the town would also contribute $500,000. Love’s would contribute funds, as well.

According to Love’s spokesperson, Kealey Dorian, Love’s has agreed to help fund a portion of the project, but was unable to provide a specific dollar amount.

“We are working with the town and other property owners to put in a regional sewer plant,” Dorian said.

It was previously reported that the Love’s facility could be opened in late 2015, but this wastewater project could push that opening date back because construction on the truck stop and hotel depend on the construction of the wastewater plant.

“The timeline for the store and hotel is contingent upon the timeline for the wastewater facility,” Dorian said. “We need to nail down a time for the plant first.”