Who Pays for New Wastewater Mains In These Three Colorado Towns

A review of sanitary sewer main extension policies - Dolores, Norwood, & Alma.

Two communities selected for review of sanitary sewer mains extension costs policies are near Rico in the Colorado San Juan Mountains region. These communities are Dolores and Norwood.

Alma, in north-central Colorado, is within commuting distance of Breckinridge. The recent economic impact analysis of Town of Rico's proposed wastewater treatment facility and sanitary sewer mains to serve Rico's business area described Alma as a "peer community" of Rico.

All three communities have existing wastewater treatment facilities and sanitary sewer mains. Residential, commercial and other buildings connected to municipal water service are required to connect to sanitary sewer service, unless an exception is granted for distance from sewer main or size of the property parcel.

Norwood Sanitation District owns and operates the Norwood wastewater treatment facility and sanitary sewer lines.

Excerpts of Dolores, Norwood and Alma sanitary sewer extension policies are reprinted below. These are posted at Norwood and Alma municipal websites. Town of Dolores provided its policies for this report upon request.

"Mains" are pipes and lines buried in alleys or streets which carry wastewater from consumers' service lines to the treatment facility. Service lines extension policies are not included in this report. 

- Underlining in the excerpts below are added by Ore Cart. -

- Maps may not be accurate. -

Dolores, Colorado

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Sanitary Sewer Mains Extension Cost and Ownership

13.04.120 Extension of water or sewer lines
No additions, extensions or improvements to the town's water or sewer system, or any part thereof, shall be made or caused to be made by any private person, firm or corporation, excepting contractors employed by the city for that purpose, except upon the following conditions:

A. The person requesting any addition, extension or improvement of the town's system shall first submit a written application upon forms to be furnished by the town to the town board. If the application is approved by the town, the applicant then may at his expense add, extend or otherwise improve such system as specified in the application according to town specifications.

B. Upon final acceptance by the town board of the improvement, extension or addition, title to such improvement shall then pass and devolve to the town and the applicant shall by proper instrument of conveyance convey title thereof to the town, together with rights-of-way or easements over any private land that such extension or addition might cross.

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Requirement to Connect


13.04.020 Cesspools and privies prohibited
All premises within the town used for business or for residential purposes shall be connected with said sewer system and it is unlawful to keep any cesspool or septic tank in use on any such premises, or to keep any privy or water closet on any such premises unless such privy or water closet be connected with the sewer system. The town board of trustees may, from time to time, declare the necessity of having any premises within the town, connected with said sewer system and may, by resolution, order such premises connected with the sewer system and to order compliance of other parts of this chapter as may be necessary.

Norwood, Colorado

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Sanitary Sewer Mains Extension Cost and Ownership


Sec. 1 Ownership

All approved and accepted sewer mains and collection lines are the property of the District.

Sec 2. Customer Installation of Sewer Mains and/or Collection Line Extension

Where service to a customer's property requires the extension of the District's sewer main and/or collection line, the customer shall install at the customer's expense, and pay for the installation of, the needed extension pursuant to District specifications and all applicable local, state and federal regulations.

Sec. 4.7 First year maintenance

The developer shall assume responsibility for maintenance of the line for a period of one year following acceptance by the district.

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Requirement to Connect



Section 3. Except as here in after provided, it shall be unlawful to construct or maintain any privy, privy vault, septic tank, cesspool, or other facility intended or used for the disposal of wastewater.


Section 4. The owner(s) of all houses, buildings, or properties used for human occupancy, employment, recreation, or other purposes, situated with in the Norwood Sanitation District and abutting on any street, alley, or right-of-way in which there is now located or maybe in the future be located a public sanitary or combined sewer of the Norwood Sanitation District, it is hereby required at the owner(s)' expense to install suitable toilet facilities therein, and two connect such facilities directly with the proper public sewer in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance, within 60 days after the date of official noticed to do so, provided that said public sewer in is within 100 ft of the property line.

Alma, Colorado

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Sanitary Sewer Mains Extension Cost and Ownership

Sec. 13-2-50. Ownership
The Town shall own all of the wastewater and sewer facilities located within the Town limits, including sewer mains and all incidental equipment.

Sec. 13-2-410. Application for sewer system extension

An application upon a form prescribed by the Town for a system extension for new service within the Town shall be submitted to the Town for its consideration at a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees. Attached to the application shall be a check in an amount prescribed by the Board of Trustees as a preliminary deposit for engineering services related to the extension. The application shall contain a description of the property for which service is requested. Where necessary, a commitment of right-of-way or easements shall be provided to the Town without charge. All system extensions shall become the property of the Town.

Sec. 13-2-450. Cost of construction

(a) The applicant shall pay all costs for the construction of any lines extended, including engineering fees; costs of deposits, if any, of preliminary studies; and any costs or expense of acquiring easements or rights-of-way as required by such lines extended.

Sec. 13-2-610. Title to lines and facilities
All sewerage facilities of the Town, whether laid in a public street, road, right-of-way or easement, other than those lines commonly denoted as service lines, shall, upon completion and acceptance by the Town, become and are the property of the Town, whether such lines were laid by any person or by the Town, and no person shall have any right, title and interest in such lines. . . .

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Requirement to Connect

Sec. 13-2-110. Mandatory connection; permit required; exemptions

(a) All properties receiving water from the Town's water system or from domestic wells must be connected to the central sewer system of the Town, and all provisions of these rules and regulations, including the payment of tap fees, shall apply to such properties. The use of any sewage disposal system by such properties other than the central sewage system of the Town is hereby prohibited.

(b) All new construction of any nature within the boundaries of the Town must be connected to the central sewer system of the Town prior to occupancy or use.