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The New Sewage System
There’s been quite a bit of fuss about sewage lately. It’s not my favorite subject. At the WIND we like to joke that sewage is Phil Stern’s bailiwick.
In fact, it concerns all of us, even though, as Phil pointed out in his column last month, there are only 96 customers in the Water District.
Like many other issues, this is a difficult and complex one, and certainly about as basic as you can get. All of us are concerned about pollution and we certainly spend quite a bit of our time and money dealing with sewage, even if we didn’t seem to be affected by this particular vote.
This issue once again reminds us that what Jack Zumwinkel called “the specter of future growth and development,” is not a wraith, but an actuality we cannot avoid. We may dislike it (and many of us do), or we may depend upon it for our livelihood, or we may be ambivalent about it. But however we feel, we are going to have to deal with it eventually.
The sewage issue won’t go away; it will only get worse. In all the valley there isn’t a single stream of surface water fit to drink from. Septic systems and outhouses have been in use for many years and many of them are failing. Anyone who has recently had to put in a new leech field knows how difficult and expensive it is and how much land is now required to meet the codes. Every year those requirements become more complex and expensive.
At the moment the debate is centered around what kind of system, and where it will be placed. Those who stand to bear the greatest burdens are understandably upset about their oxen being gored; nobody likes to be forced to fix something that isn’t broken.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that some parts of this system are indeed broken, and eventually a permanent solution will have to be found.
Dare I breathe the word “incorporation?” There, I’ve said it. Without question, at some time in the not so distant future Allenspark is going to have to incorporate if it is to be eligible for the many sorts of state and federal assistance which it already seems to need. The village is never going to be smaller. It is going to grow and that growth is going to require a mayor and a town council and all the good and terrible things that go with it.
It seems difficult to believe, but the problems we face today with pollution and sewage are a clear message to all of us that growth and the effects of increased land use are not phantoms, but facts. Who would have believed, ten years ago, that we would be talking today about a project in the $500,000 range? And this is just the beginning.
The question is not how difficult is the present, but how can we prepare for the future? Some of us want to live in the past and patch together solutions to today’s problems rather than thinking about building a solid and workable foundation for the future. How much is that attitude going to cost all of us in the long run?
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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