Sewer issues could clog Valley of the Utes development

Officials with the Village of Angel Fire have really stepped in a bucket of sewage this time.

One of the area’s newest developments, the upscale Valley of the Utes subdivision, is without sewer service because the developer’s system is not tied into the village’s wastewater treatment plant.

In January 2010, Angel Fire Administrator Larry Leahy issued a memo stating that all builders had to hook into the village sewer system if they wanted approval for their plans. That makes sense. In Leahy’s original memo, he states, “The Valley of Utes’ infrastructure was accepted by the Village of Angel Fire in June 2009.

From this point forward, all residential construction will be required to utilize a grinder pump and connect to the Village of Angel Fire sewer system.” There’s not much gray water in that statement. He’s saying that if you build in the Valley of the Utes, you have to hook up to the municipal system.

Now the administrator is saying the Valley of the Utes is not hooked up to the village’s sewer system. And a new memo went out last week from the quick pen of the administrator trying to right the wrong: “All residences constructed in the Valley of the Utes will be required to install a septic system now and will be required to hook up to sewer when it is available…”

The problem today is that the first home built in the Valley of the Utes subdivision since the original mandate took effect is almost done, and the builder was planning to connect the house to the sewer system all along. Now, after landscaping has been completed, he’s expected to put in a septic system.

Leahy estimates it will take about $3 million to connect the subdivision’s sewer system to the existing village infrastructure, and he said last week the village administration never committed to do so. This does not make any sense.

Why would you force the developer to install a sewer system, then require builders to hook into it when it goes nowhere — and there are no plans for the Valley of the Utes to hook up to the municipal system anytime soon. Development is one of the Angel Fire’s largest industries, we believe the village should have figured out the process by now.

The village needs to take the hit here and hook up the Valley of the Utes sewer system into the municipal system as mandated by the developer and builders over a year-and-a-half ago.