At their April 6 meeting, the outgoing Lyons Board of Trustees unanimously passed a pretreatment ordinance similar to that of most Colorado towns. It will give Lyons Town staff the authority to require commercial and industrial customers reduce their high-strength pollutants (such as copper, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), and total suspended solids (TSS)) before putting their waste into the Lyons wastewater system.
For several years, the Town of Lyons has been working toward finding a way to meet state regulations for levels of BOD, TSS, and copper going into the wastewater treatment plant. One reason for this is that any new development in the eastern corridor will not be allowed to use the wastewater system until Lyons can show those levels are under control. Also, if the town does not reduce levels of copper in the wastewater effluent, the Colorado regulatory agency has advised that fines can be up to $10,000 per violation.
Previously, on February 3, the trustees passed an ordinance requiring a testing and monitoring port, also known as a sampling port, to be installed in the wastewater service lines of business customers that discharge “high-strength” wastes into the town sewer system. Due to the recent economic impacts of COVID-19, on April 6, the trustees passed the first reading of an ordinance to extend the deadline for this port to be installed from June 30 until September 30. A public hearing for the second reading of the ordinance will be held at the next regular meeting on April 20, when the newly elected Board of Trustees will decide whether to allow the extension.
Although Town staff said the risk is low, there is the possibility that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) might not accept the COVID-19 virus as an acceptable reason to delay the testing port part of the pretreatment ordinance. If the copper levels continue to be higher than allowed, the town could be seen as not working to alleviate a known problem, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could step in to mandate policy to the town. Town staff and the Town attorney have indicated that the EPA could sue the Town in order to force Lyons to adopt EPA-prescribed regulations, which could significantly impact or shut down businesses suspected of violating the regulations.