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District History

The District’s History (briefly)…

Aspen’s original sanitation district, The Aspen Sanitation District (ASD), was formed in 1955. In 1957 property below Puppy Smith St. was purchased for the construction of a wastewater treatment facility. A trickling filter treatment system was built that included an anaerobic digester which produced methane that was captured and used as fuel for part of the treatment process. This plant was expanded several times until the early 70’s when it could no longer consistently meet ever tightening water quality standards. It had also become an odorous neighbor as development rapidly grew closer to the treatment facility property.

The original facility and district served the core area of the current city. By 1965, new development pressure on land located outside of the original core area of the City of Aspen prompted the formation of The Aspen Metropolitan Sanitation District (AMSD). The “Metro” district was specifically formed to deal with the sewage treatment needs of the area surrounding the established central business district of Aspen. Initially those flows were treated by the old ASD facility. As Aspen became recognized as a premier skiing destination development began to occur more rapidly. The old ASD treatment facility was operating at near capacity at that time and struggled to meet the water quality standards of the day. The new Metropolitan District had its own elected Board of Directors who set out to find a new location for another treatment facility to eventually serve the current and rapidly expanding “Metro” service areas. Many sites were considered and evaluated. Property referred to as the “hog pasture” located along the Roaring Fork River below the old Sardy Ranch, was purchased in 1969 as a site for a new “Metro” treatment facility. The original airport, across the highway, was known as Sardy Field. The new Metro facility would be capable of treating flows for the ASD and Metro service areas. Flows to the old ASD facility were slowly phased out as they were directed to the new Metro Plant.

In 1984, the two separate districts were merged to form the Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District (ACSD). Names of Board members from both ASD and AMSD were drawn out of a hat to decide who would comprise the first ACSD Board of Directors, as all of the current Board members were interested in continuing in their currently elected positions. Board members are elected to staggered four-year terms today.

The Metro facility has been expanded and upgraded several times since it was built in 1969. It was built with reserve capacity to handle the flows projected from the development occurring at the time.

In 1999 the Aspen Highlands Sanitation District was dissolved and the area served by that district was consolidated into the ACSD.

The Metro facility currently provides a water reclamation level of treatment for the Aspen and the outlying metropolitan areas.

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