Nobody cares much about water and wastewater systems until the faucet runs brown or the toilet backs up.

But that reality isn’t so far down the trail for Rocky Mountain National Park, which will celebrate its birthday next month with 102 candles and more than $75 million in deferred maintenance.

It’s the heftiest repairs backlog the park has seen in seven years, and a recent funding award from the Department of the Interior won’t do much to change that.

Facing a growing maintenance to-do list and an uncertain funding future, park officials say they’ll spend the next several years focusing on the nuts and bolts: waterlines and septic systems.

“It’s underground, so nobody pays much attention to it,” said Justin Pattison, RMNP facility manager. “And now, service-wide, everything’s kind of coming to a point beyond its life cycle.”

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