Santa Rita pit offers ironic scene for lookie-loos

City officials assure concerned residents that the lone porta-potty at the bottom of the construction pit is not the $64 million Santa Rita Wastewater Reclamation Facility. Enlarge photo

Courtesy of Action Line

City officials assure concerned residents that the lone porta-potty at the bottom of the construction pit is not the $64 million Santa Rita Wastewater Reclamation Facility.

There’s something odd at the construction site at the new Santa Rita Park sewer plant. At the base of the excavated hole was a lone porta-potty. Is this all we get for our money? Can one porta-potty handle all of the city’s wastewater treatment needs? – Ken

Something here doesn’t pass the sniff test.

But it’s a government infrastructure project. Strange things happen when a boatload of dough is thrown at a problem.

This is not one of those times.

“It’s just the very beginning,” said our good friend Gregg Boysen, the city engineer and manager of the huge, multi-year project.

“We’re on schedule and within the budget,” he added.

Still, some people would pooh-pooh the new sewage treatment plant and its $64 million price tag.

The affluent should pay for the effluent, they say.

But thanks to a municipal bond issue, the city is flush with cash for the project.

And because the sewer plant is for everyone’s benefit, the money needs to come from the same pot.

Gregg assured that the common commode is just temporary and for the convenience of workers.

The project kicks into high gear when crews pour 550 cubic yards of concrete, the first of three pours to form the all-important aeration basin.

Keeping residents informed and maintaining financial transparency are Gregg’s No. 1 and No. 2 priorities for the Santa Rita Water Reclamation Facility.

That’s why the city created a comprehensive website for the project.

Visit DurangoGov.org/SantaRitaWRF for timelines, updates and even a nifty link to a live webcam so you can watch the action.

Should the webcam be called the Loo View? Um, probably not.

By the way, note the fresh name: Santa Rita Water Reclamation Facility.

No longer the “sewer plant,” the SRWRF will provide fertile grounds for those prone to making up snarky initialisms.

How about: “Sending Really Weird Releases to Farmington?”

The project should be done by the summer of 2019 if all goes according to plan.

But the real question is what secret stuff was uncovered with all that digging.

Action Line grilled Gregg: “Did you find Jimmy Hoffa, dinosaur bones, buried treasure, Mrs. Action Line’s earring that she lost at the 2007 Animas River Days?”

“Nope, nothing unusual,” he insisted.

“But we did have something out of the ordinary,” Greg said.

“When we first started to dig, some folks wanted to sift through the excavation to look for gold.”

The prospectors’ request was politely turned down.

While some people dream of a mythical pot of gold in the Santa Rita pit, it’s Action Line’s duty to offer the unsanitized truth.

There’s a pot, all right. But it’s not filled with precious metals.

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you remember when Santa Rita used to be called “Gateway.”