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  • Dylan Anderson

Yampa approves ballot measures to support new water infrastructure

Town's neglected wastewater treatment plant and deteriorating collection lines have been flagged by state officials for not meeting environmental standards.

Voters in the town of Yampa approved a new 2% sales tax and bonding to fund much-needed upgrades to the town’s neglected wastewater treatment plant and to fix deteriorating water collection lines in town.

This work is expected to cost more than $9 million in total — a steep bill for the town of around 500 residents. Measure 2A to add the 2% sales tax passed 103 to 58 and Measure 2B to approve the bonding passed 94 to 57.

The ballot measure stemmed from work from a group called the Yampa Community Task Force, which considered alternatives like increasing water rates before proposing the new sales tax.

The town’s wastewater plant is a lagoon system, similar to many of the systems utilized in Routt County. Lagoons work by aerating water in three pools, which promotes the growth of bacteria to treat the water with the biosolids left behind sinking to the bottom. Those lagoons have not been dredged in 20 years, which has reduced their effectiveness.

This has led the water from the plant that is released back into the Yampa River to not meet state standards set by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The agency hasn’t placed an enforcement order on the plant yet, only because the town has been working to replace it.


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