Thursday - Colorado Water Congress

Media Summary
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Denver Post
Colorado cities finish $841M straw to siphon water from river
By Bruce Finley
Construction crews are poised to lay the final pipeline link for Colorado's biggest water project
in decades — an $841 million uphill diversion from the Arkansas River to enable population
growth in Colorado Springs and other semi-arid Front Range cities.
Eleven 2,000-plus horsepower pumps driven by coal-fired power plants will propel the water
from a reservoir near Pueblo through a 50-mile pipeline with an elevation gain of 1,500 feet.
This is the first phase, moving up to 50 million gallons a day, for a Southern Delivery System
that utility officials estimated will eventually cost $1.5 billion.
"It means we will have greater water security," Colorado Springs utilities spokeswoman Janet
Rummel said. "Businesses need water. Our communities need water to survive. It means we can
continue to serve our population as it grows."
Water challenges loom across Colorado, with state officials projecting a 163 billion-gallon
shortfall. A few years ago, drought forced Colorado Springs to stop watering municipal
parkways and gardens.
The diverted water can be used only within the Arkansas River Basin, officials said, ruling out
sales to south Denver suburbs. And the river water, after treatment, must be returned to
downstream farmers.
Colorado Springs residents have been paying for the project through water bills, which increased
by 52 percent over four years. Utility officials spent $475 million from bonds.
The water will flow by next March, officials said. At full buildout, the system will store water in
two new reservoirs east of Colorado Springs.
Denver Business Journal
New water supply for Colorado Springs and neighbors is getting closer
By Cathy Proctor
One of the biggest water projects in the western U.S. will hit a major milestone this month, when
the last piece of 50 miles of pipe is laid for the Southern Delivery System, the $841 million
project to bring new water supplies to Colorado Springs and nearby communities.
The project includes 50 miles of pipeline, three pump stations and a water treatment plant. It will
deliver water from the Pueblo Reservoir to Colorado Springs, Fountain, Security and Pueblo
More than 7,000 sections of blue-colored, welded, steel pipe 50 feet long and most of it 66
inches in diameter were installed on the project during the last 3 1/2 years of construction.
The project spent $204 million on pipe and installation, according to the Colorado Springs
"The pipe is the main artery for this water project and we are extremely pleased with how the
pipeline construction went," said John Fredell, the program director for the Southern Delivery
System project.
The project is in the final year of construction and Fredell said the costs are expected to be nearly
$150 million under the original budget.
The pipe will move water from Pueblo Reservoir north to Colorado Springs, the second largest
city in the state, and to the southern Colorado communities of Pueblo West, Fountain and
Security. Collectively, the communities are expected to serve as many as 750,000 people in
Northwest Pipe (Nasdaq: NWPX), based in Vancouver, Washington, manufactured the SDS pipe
at its Denver plant.
Three contractors installed the pipe, Garney Construction, headquartered in Kansas City with an
office in Littleton; ASI/HCP Contractors of Pueblo West; and the heavy civil division of Layne,
a construction firm based in The Woodlands, Texas, which has four offices in Colorado.
Construction is continuing on other elements of the Southern Delivery System project, including
a $125-million water treatment plant and pump station that will have the capacity to treat and
pump 50 million gallons of water per day. Three pump stations will help move water uphill,
about 1,500 feet in elevation, from the Pueblo Reservoir, also are under construction.
Construction on the remaining portions of the project are expected to be finished by the end of
Pueblo Chieftain
Groundwater pumping rules advancing
Proposals on impact of roughly 6,000 irrigation wells have been in the making
since 2008
By Matt Hildner
ALAMOSA — State rules and regulations governing groundwater pumping in the San Luis
Valley have traveled a long road.
An advisory committee formed in 2008 has argued and revised drafts of the rules and a computer
model to help determine the impact of groundwater pumping on streams and rivers that is almost
ready for the public.
State Engineer Dick Wolfe said earlier this week the model was under peer review and soon
would be ready to submit to the Division 3 Water Court, along with the rules and regulations.
While Wolfe did not submit a timeline for their completion, should the rules eventually be
approved by the court and go into effect, it would mark a first in the regulation of groundwater in
the San Luis Valley where pumping has been largely unregulated by the state.
Under the rules, each of the roughly 6,000 irrigation wells would face a shutdown unless they are
part of a subdistrict, or operate under an augmentation plan or a substitute water supply plan.
All three methods represent a manner by which a well owner can make up for the injury his well
depletions cause surface water rights.
One subdistrict, which levies fees on its members to buy surface water and retire farm ground
inside its boundaries, already is in operation in the north-central part of the valley.
All three methods would depend on simplified runs of the computer model known as response
functions that predict the amount of stream depletions caused by wells in seven different areas
around the valley.
The model data includes past data such as the amount of groundwater pumping, irrigated acreage
and cropping patterns.
“It shortcuts a whole bunch of inputs we don’t know by looking at the past, “ Deputy State
Engineer Mike Sullivan said.
Pueblo Chieftain
Fort Lyon farms sold once more
Seller, buyer tried to move water
By Chris Woodka
A block of farms on the Fort Lyon Canal that were targeted for their water by speculators has
been sold to a company that had plans to move water from the Lamar Canal to growing Front
Range cities.
Pure Cycle Corp. this week announced an agreement to sell 14,600 acres of farms on the Fort
Lyon Canal to Arkansas River Farms LLC, an affiliate of C&A Companies and Resource Land
Holdings LLC.
The sale price is $53 million. There is still a 60-90 day due diligence period before the deal
becomes final.
C&A Companies was the parent company of GP Water, which in 2011 announced a plan to
move water from the Lamar Canal to various cities.
Neither group has been actively working to move the water in the last few years, instead
concentrating on farming efforts. But neither company has formally abandoned plans to move
Pure Cycle leases farms and about 21,600 shares of Fort Lyon water. It also owns water assets in
the Denver metro area and specializes in water and wastewater systems for planned
C&A Companies is a Colorado-based real estate company that has been investing in Arkansas
River agriculture projects for 15 years. Most recently, it assembled 10,000 acres of irrigated land
in a joint venture with Syracuse (Kan.) Dairy.
“We were looking for an opportunity,” Pure Cycle President Mark Harding said. “We are happy
to continue farming if the sale doesn’t go through.”
Pure Cycle entered a structured agreement with High Plains A&M after investors purchased
about 23 percent of Fort Lyon shares prior to 2003. High Plains lost a Pueblo water court case,
upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court, because its plan to use the water was speculative.
Court cases involving High Plains’ residual interests were resolved earlier this year, clearing the
way for the sale, Harding said.
C&A Companies partner Karl Nyquist did not return phone calls from The Pueblo Chieftain
seeking information on Wednesday.
Nyquist in 2011 outlined a plan to move water out of the Lamar Canal to various cities in the
Denver-Colorado Springs area. In recent years, GP efforts apparently have been directed at
strengthening GP Irrigated Farms operations in Prowers County.
Local officials have not had much time to digest the news, or to find out more about the
impending sale.
“We would be disappointed if the plan is still to move water,” said Bill Long, Bent County
commissioner and president of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. “We’ll be
supportive if it means more farming.”
Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District agreed.
“As long as they continue to farm, it will keep the water here and be good for the Arkansas
Valley,” Winner said. “We’ll stop any attempts to move it out of the valley.”
Pueblo Chieftain
Local company thrived on SDS
Colorado Springs and friends celebrate completion of pipeline
By Chris Woodka
The Southern Delivery System pipeline’s completion was marked by a contingent of El Paso
County officials and a smattering of Pueblo County folks as well.
For John Bowen, president of ASI Constructors of Pueblo West, the SDS project has meant
bread on the table as well as water in the pipes.
“It’s generated $50 million in contract values for our company,” Bowen said during a ceremony
to mark completion of the SDS pipeline from Pueblo Dam to Colorado Springs. “We were able
to grow as a business during a time when a lot of contractors were laying people off.”
ASI was the primary contractor for the connection at Pueblo Dam, as well as 12 miles of the 50mile SDS pipeline route, and relied on 70 local businesses for support services. The SDS project
generated $800,000 in wages for ASI workers. The pipeline has a total cost of $204 million and
actually used more than 7,000 50-foot sections of pipe — more than 66 miles worth. All of it has
now been installed.
The last, albeit ceremonial, section of pipe rolled up as Gary Bostrom, chief of water services for
Colorado Springs Utilities, closed out his opening remarks Wednesday at the work site near
Pikes Peak International Raceway, north of Pueblo. Matt Foster of Garney Construction
described it as the “most interesting” leg of the route, because it tunnels 85 feet under Fountain
Creek from that point.
Pueblo West Metropolitan District board member Jerry Martin was the only elected official from
Pueblo County on hand for the celebration, but the event attracted past and present, and
potentially future, members from Colorado Springs, Security and Fountain.
“There has been a lot of cooperation to get to this point,” said Lionel Rivera, who was Colorado
Springs mayor when the SDS project obtained its permits from the federal government and
Pueblo County in 2009.
Also on hand was Larry Small, who was vice-mayor at the time, and now is the general manager
of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District. The district will begin
receiving $50 million for flood control projects under the Pueblo County 1041 agreement when
SDS is turned on.
Operations could start by the end of the year. Still to be completed are three pumping stations
and a treatment plant that are part of the $841 million project and all underway. That would
mean the first of five checks for $10 million to the Fountain Creek district would arrive Jan. 15.
If SDS does not go online until next year, the money would start arriving in 2017.
Dolores Star
Dolores basin needs more snow
Otherwise, irrigators face shortage
By Jim Mimiaga
The runoff forecast into McPhee Reservoir has some good news and some bad news.
As of March 13, snowpack in the Dolores basin was 80 percent of normal. But if no more snow
falls by April, then there will be shortages in irrigation supply from McPhee, said manager Mike
"More moisture in the next few weeks is critical," he said.
At the current snowpack level, full-service irrigators are only expected to receive about half their
allocated water - 11 inches per acre. When the reservoir fills, full-service irrigators receive 22
Farmers received 20 inches last year, thanks in part to monsoon rains in summer and fall. In
2013, a very dry year, farmers received 6 inches, or 25 percent of their normal amount if the
reservoir fills.
On the brighter side, the National Resource Conservation Service forecasts a 7-in-10 chance that
snowpack will increase and McPhee will fill to 81 percent of capacity. At that level, full-service
irrigators would be delivered 20 inches of water per acre.
"Even if there is no more snow, we are better off than 2013," Preston said. "We're still
speculating. The uncertainty is what happens between now and April."
It's questionable whether the reservoir will fill to capacity; the NRCS forecast gives it a 50-50
Because of limited snowpack, there will be no whitewater boating season this year for the Lower
Dolores, officials said. A whitewater release below the dam last occurred in 2011.
Narraguinnep Reservoir is almost full, and Groundhog Reservoir has 9,000 more acre-feet than
this time last year.
Canyon City Daily Record
Colorado snowpack at 90 percent of long-term average
Water experts say snowpack in the mountains and valleys where the Colorado River originates
has been shrinking since the start of the month.
Brian Domonkos, supervisor of the Colorado Snow Survey for the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, said Tuesday that the snow was about 90 percent of the long-term average.
Figures for the early March snow levels weren't immediately available.
Domonkos told the state task force on water availability that recent warm weather had begun to
melt the snow at lower elevations in parts of the Colorado River basin in western Colorado.
Colorado's snowpack is closely watched because it provides water for four major river systems
that originate in the state: the Platte, Arkansas, Rio Grande and Colorado.
The Colorado River is under especially close scrutiny because it helps supply California, which
is in the midst of a historic drought.
In Colorado, the snowpack in the mountains and valleys that directly feed the Colorado River
was 89 percent of the long-term average Tuesday.
In three other Colorado basins that eventually feed into the Colorado River, the snowpack was 72
to 79 percent of average.
East of the Continental Divide, snowpack in the basin that feeds the South Platte was average,
while the North Platte River basin was at 85 percent.
The Arkansas River basin had 96 percent of average snowpack, and the Upper Rio Grande basin
had 77 percent.
Steamboat Today
Snowpack on Rabbit Ears Pass near Steamboat loses 12 points since March 4
By Tom Ross
Steamboat Springs — The Yampa River was clearly swollen and discolored Wednesday where it
flows through downtown Steamboat Springs, and after Tuesday’s temperatures reached into the
60s, that won’t come as a surprise to valley residents.
It’s impossible to avoid noticing how rapidly snow is melting from roof tops and south-facing
embankments. Aspen trees are in the earliest stages of budding in some places, and green shoots
from flower bulbs are emerging weeks ahead of schedule.
The Yampa’s flows of 337 cubic feet per second Wednesday, where it passes beneath the Fifth
Street Bridge in Steamboat, were more than double the median for the date, according to records
kept by the U.S. Geological Survey.
In a winter of sub-par snowfall across Colorado, the west summit of Rabbit Ears Pass has been
an isolated location with near-normal snowpack (water stored in the standing snow), according to
monitoring by the National Resources Conservation Service.
However, there, at about 9,300 feet, the trend has reverted to unseasonably warm and dry
conditions since March began with three days of welcome snowfall.
The NRCS recorded that the snowpack on Rabbit Ears March 4 stood at 94 percent of median for
the date. But that number has dropped off steadily since then, losing 12 points – the equivalent of
four-10ths of an inch of stored water – down to 82 percent of median for March 18. The median
snowpack for March 18 is 22.2 inches and growing.
Brian Domonkos, supervisor of the NRCS snow survey, told the state task force on water
availability Tuesday that the recent warm weather had begun to melt the snow at lower
elevations in parts of the Colorado River Basin, according to an article by the Associated Press.
The Yampa is a tributary of the Green River where it leaves the northwestern corner of Moffat
County, ultimately flowing into the Colorado in Canyonlands National Park in Utah.
Just below Craig, where the Yampa has picked up flows from the Elk River, Trout Creek,
Elkhead Creek and other tributaries, the river was flowing at 1,040 cfs at midday Wednesday,
compared to the median of 638 cfs.
The Elk was also flowing above the median Wednesday — 312 cfs compared to the median for
the date of 152 cfs.
The Elk River Snotel, where the RCS monitors snowpack on the western edge of the Mount
Zirkel Wilderness in North Routt, is currently at 69 percent of median.
Pueblo Chieftain
Levels: Good news for boaters
If weather holds, there should be plenty of water this season
By Chris Woodka
Boaters should be able to enjoy higher levels at Lake Pueblo well into the season this year.
The reservoir has been filling all winter as the Bureau of Reclamation makes room for
transmountain imports into Turquoise and Twin Lakes in Lake County this year. It’s also been
storing winter water which will be used in irrigation later this year.
“The release of ag water will begin to draw it down, and then it will follow the typical curve,”
said Roy Vaughan, manager of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project for Reclamation. “There will be
more water this year, so the curve will be higher.”
The peak storage of water will occur in the next few weeks. The Southeastern Colorado Water
Conservancy District has requested a two-week delay (to May 1) in clearing the flood storage
pool at Lake Pueblo, when the volume of water must be lowered to less than 257,000 acre-feet.
Right now, there are about 263,000 acre-feet in Lake Pueblo.
Of that, 13,000 acre-feet were held over from last year’s winter water program, and that water
will be released by May 1.
After that, the weather will determine how quickly the reservoir is drawn down.
“We have quite a bit of municipal project water stored,” Vaughan said.
More than 125,000 acrefeet of water is in municipal Fry-Ark accounts. Another 50,000 acre-feet
are in excess capacity accounts — which are both municipal and agricultural. There are 50,000
acre-feet stored under this year’s winter water program.
On March 1, the Fry-Ark Project was projected to bring in about 68,000 acre-feet this year, but
that will depend on snow levels in the Upper Colorado River basin during the next two months.
That water initially will be stored in Turquoise Lake.
In a typical year — one without extreme drought — water levels usually stay fairly high until
late July or August, and sometimes later into the fall
Durango Herald
State lawmakers urge opening of Lake Nighthorse
By Mary Shinn
The argument for recreation at Lake Nighthorse has been raised again on the national stage.
U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo.; and Rep. Scott Tipton, RCortez, recently penned a letter to Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López
requesting open access to Lake Nighthorse at the earliest possible date.
The reservoir was completed in 2011, but the area has remained closed while members of the
managing association negotiate plans for recreation.
The three members of Congress encouraged the bureau to make opening the lake to recreation a
priority because of its potential economic impact.
Recreation at Lake Nighthorse could stimulate upward of $12 million in annual economic
benefits for La Plata County, a report commissioned by the Animas La Plata Water Conservancy
District found.
The officials also lauded all the members of the Animas-La Plata Project’s Operation,
Maintenance and Replacement Association for writing letters in support of the city of Durango’s
draft recreational plan.
“Given this momentum, we encourage the bureau to expedite and prioritize its environmental
analysis of the proposal, which would clear the way to open the lake to public access,” the letter
The members of the association include the Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District, the
city of Durango, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Water Resources and Power
Development Authority, La Plata Conservancy District, the Navajo Nation, the San Juan Water
Commission, Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.
“We urge the bureau to redouble their efforts to analyze and adopt an agreeable plan that will
open Lake Nighthorse to recreational access as soon as possible,” the letter stated. “We look
forward to your response including a timeline for next steps and to the resolution of this issue.”
Bennet and former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall sent a similar letter last year.
“We are definitely continuing to make progress, and we are definitely ahead of where we were
last year,” said Justyn Hock, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Reclamation.
Now that all the partners in the project have expressed support for recreation, the bureau can start
an environmental assessment of recreational plans. When that draft is available, the public will
be invited to comment on it.
“We are doing everything we can,” she said.
The environmental assessment process was started a few years ago, but it was put on hold after
the partners expressed concerns about maintaining water quality, safety and archaeological sites
near the lake, if it opened for recreation.
The reservoir was built to fulfill water treaty agreements with the three tribes involved in the
project. The tribes, in particular, expressed concern about preserving the archaeological sites
around the lake.
The agency also is working on a cultural resource management plan that will outline concrete
steps to protect historical sites.
This could include fencing, signs and a plan on who to call if vandalism to archaeological sites
did occur, Hock said.
Michael Cipriano is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The
Durango Herald.
Fort Morgan Times
Council OK's agreement to treat Log Lane's wastewater
Agreement with Re-3 School District approved for school resource officer
By Jenni Grubbs
The Fort Morgan City Council on Tuesday night approved signing an intergovernmental
agreement with Log Lane Village for wastewater treatment.
This agreement makes amendments and updates to one first put in place between Log Lane
Village and Fort Morgan in 1996, according to a council memo.
The Log Lane Board of Trustees approved the agreement at the board's March 11 regular
Fort Morgan Water Resources/Utilities Director Brent Nation explained to the council that the
city's Wastewater Treatment Plant was audited for pre-treatment last August by the
Environmental Protection Agency.
"That's always a fun day when the EPA comes out to talk to us," Nation said.
One of the outcomes of that audit was a request for language in the IGA between Fort Morgan
and Log Lane that would allow Fort Morgan Wastewater Treatment officials to be able to inspect
businesses for wastewater pre-treatment purposes in the same way that is allowed for businesses
within Fort Morgan, Nation said.
"Pre-treatment, real basically, is when we look at our businesses that are sending us effluent and
discharge into our wastewater plant and make determination if they need to be doing something
to help before the waste gets to us," he explained.
For example, DFA is required to do several things with its wastewater before it comes to the
treatment plant, and restaurants are required to have grease traps.
Answering a question from Mayor Terry McAlister, Nation said that there have not been any
issues with the wastewater coming from Log Lane, with a previous amendment to the IGA
having been made to reduce the level of monitoring "because they had been so consistent."
The amended IGA was just to comply with what the EPA wanted, Nation said.
"They've been a consistent customer and everything," he told the council. "This was just one of
those paperwork things that the EPA wanted us to have in place, that if we felt at some time that
we all of a sudden did get some type of bad sample or something that ended up in the wastewater
flow it would allow us to follow it back to whatever business may have discharged it to us."
With that, the council unanimously approved signing the amended IGA with Log Lane for
wastewater treatment.
Other action
The council also:
Approved an intergovernmental agreement with Morgan County Re-3 School District to
share the costs of having a school resource officer from Fort Morgan Police Department;
the council also directed Fort Morgan Police Chief Darin Sagel to work with the school
district to determine if more police resources would be needed from FMPD once the new
middle school gets built on the south side of the city.
Approved a five-year service agreement with Scott Aviation for fixed-base operator
services at Fort Morgan Municipal Airport.
Approved purchasing and installation of equipment for upfits for three police vehicles for
up to $26,500 from L.A.W.S. of Englewood; although this was not the lowest of two
bids, it was the one staff recommended due to previously working with this company on
vehicle upfits, according to Fort Morgan Police Lt. Jared Crone.
Approved a purchasing two steerable sewer cameras from sole-bidder Dawson
Infrastructure Solutions of Henderson for up to $74,809, which includes an oldequipment trade-in allowance of $32,250, for the Water Distribution/Wastewater
Collection Department.
Approved on first reading Ordinance No. 1168 and scheduled a public hearing for April
7; if finalized, this ordinance would make adjustments to the 2014 budget that would
prevent budget violations during the ongoing audit, according to City Treasurer Jeanne
Approved the consent agenda, which included the February disbursements and payroll
and the March 3 regular council meeting minutes.
Held a 38-minute executive session to determine positions and/or develop strategy for
negotiations and/or instruct negotiators related to economic incentives, which had been
scheduled as the second executive session but was held first due to the meeting going
more quickly than expected. Attending the session were Mayor Terry McAlister, the
council members, City Manager Jeff Wells, Assistant City Attorney Jason Meyers,
Community Services Director Josh Miller and Management Intern Chelsea Gondeck.
Afterward, the council returned to open session and Councilwoman Christine Castoe
reported that the council met in executive session for the stated purpose. The council then
approved Castoe's motion to direct negotiators to move forward based on the discussion
in the executive session, according to City Clerk/Public Information Officer John
And held a one-hour-and-12-minute executive session to determine positions and/or
develop strategy for negotiations and/or instruct negotiators related to use of city
facilities. Attending the session were the mayor, council, Wells, Meyers, Miller,
Gondeck, Tamara Thompson and Kjelse Curtis. Following some discussion, Thompson
and Curtis left the session, according to Brennan. After the executive session concluded,
the council returned to open session and Castoe reported that the council met in executive
session for the stated purpose. The council then approved Castoe's motion to direct
negotiators to move forward based on the discussion in the executive session, according
to Brennan.
Loveland Reporter-Herald
Residents ask Larimer County to lift floodway rebuilding ban
By Pamela Johnson
DRAKE — The flood risks in the Big Thompson Canyon are very different from those
downstream of the Poudre River in LaPorte, prompting county officials to study a hazard-based
rebuilding system versus a one-size-fits-all ban in the floodway.
However, residents from both areas have asked Larimer County the same question: Why won't
you let us rebuild at our own risk of future flood damage?
"This is supposed to be a free country," canyon resident Barb Anderson said at a county meeting
in Drake on Tuesday night. "We're supposed to have free choice."
She asked the county to lift a ban on rebuilding structures that are destroyed in the floodway and
let the residents rebuild good, structurally sound homes.
"You'd get a lot more tax revenue off those properties than you are as they are now," Anderson
said. "People aren't going to be stupid."
In the canyon, the focus is on rebuilding after a disaster, most recently the 2013 floods.
In LaPorte, residents are worried about being able to sell their homes, which were not damaged,
because county rules prohibit rebuilding in the floodway if the structure is destroyed by flood,
fire, tornado or other disaster.
County rules that have been in place since 1975 prohibit rebuilding in only the floodway, a
designated portion of the floodplain. Residents outside that area are currently allowed to rebuild
their homes if they are destroyed in a disaster.
Inside the floodway, however, the county does not allow rebuilding after any disaster.
The commissioners are considering changing that rule.
The county is launching an extensive study to look at tying the rebuilding to hazard zones which
are based on water level, velocity and even factors such as erosion. It could take up to two years
to gather enough information to make a decision on that option, staff has said.
In the meantime, the county is considering lifting the ban in the floodway for all disasters except
for a flood.
If the proposal is approved, residents in that area could rebuild after a fire or tornado, but not
after a flood, as long as they meet federal standards that include elevating the new structure to a
set level above the 100-year flood mark.
Judy Lorenz, who lives in Cedar Cove, questioned that logic.
"Why are we not able to rebuild if there's a flood that happens only so often but are allowed if
there's a fire when there's that potential every year?" she asked.
"We have less potential of flooding than we do of having our house burn down."
Lori Hodges, the county's emergency management coordinator, refuted that. Floods, she said, are
the costliest and deadliest hazard nationwide and in Larimer County.
And unlike fires and tornadoes, floods follow a path that can be predicted, so the county needs to
regulate building along that path to prevent the loss of life and property, Hodges said.
As far as allowing people to rebuild at their own risk, Hodges noted that the risk is not theirs
alone. If their home is destroyed, associated debris will wash downstream and put other people's
homes, public roads, bridges and even lives at risk, she said.
"We're trying to create a balance between public safety and property rights," said County
Commissioner Tom Donnelly. "We're trying to find ways to give people greater flexibility in the
event that their home is destroyed."
The public meeting in Drake for input on the proposed change is the first of three to be followed
by public hearings before the Larimer County planning commission and commissioners. The
final hearing and decision is scheduled for June 15.
NBC 11 News
Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant getting an update
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant is getting a much needed
The city council approved the replacement of the control center for the Aeration Basin at their
meeting Wednesday night. The equipment at the plant has a long history.
"The existing equipment is 31 years old,” said Wastewater Services Manager Dan Tonello.
Tonello said the nature of the plant is not too kind to the machines.
“There are a lot of gases in this environment and they're hard on electrical equipment,” he said.
If something were to break, repairing it is out of the question.
"Replacement parts are even hard to get anymore because the equipment is so old,” said Tonello.
The Aeration Basin at the plant provides the majority of the water’s treatment, so the threat of a
breakdown causes concern for the city.
“If we had a motor control center failure for this building we would have a short time period
where we could store water but we have to facilitate repairs very quickly,” said Tonello.
Not only that, City of Grand Junction Public Works Director Greg Lanning said it is a public
safety threat as well.
“It’s very high voltage for one thing, so if we have shorts or worn circuits there would be
danger,” said Lanning.
The replacement will cost $233,105 and the money will come from reserves made up of
homeowner sewage fees. Lanning said it won’t affect taxpayers.
"In terms of operating the sewage treatment plant it’s about a 14 million dollar operation so it's
not a very expensive piece of equipment compared to the rest of the cost of the operation,” said
Tonello added up to date equipment is extremely important for the quality of our water
"We discharge 8 million gallons of wastewater to the Colorado River on a daily basis and we
have to ensure that it’s clean enough to be discharged to the environment.”
Pueblo Chieftain
Springs explains SDS injuries to county
Pipeline completion to be marked in ceremony today
By Chris Woodka
Colorado Springs Utilities provided a more detailed report to Pueblo County this week about
four workers who were injured in February while inspecting the Southern Delivery System
pipeline across Walker Ranches in northern Pueblo County.
A March 12 letter to Pueblo County water attorney Ray Petros from Mark Pifher, SDS
permitting and compliance manager, was made available this week to The Pueblo Chieftain. The
response also included Utilities’ report to The Chieftain in reply to questions raised by rancher
Gary Walker about the Feb. 4 incident.
Pools of water left over from pressure-testing the seals on the 66-inch, concrete-lined pipeline
stood in the pipe for about two years with no way to evaporate. This elevated the pH level in the
water, which saturated the footwear of the workers and caused them to experience burning
sensations on their feet, Pifher explained in his response.
“The limited standing water presently contained within the pipe presents no hazard of any kind
to persons outside the pipe,” Pifher wrote. “It presents no threat to the integrity of the pipe or the
cement mortar lining. The water will be fully diluted and neutralized as water is pumped into the
pipe from Pueblo Reservoir to the SDS Water Treatment Plant in Colorado Springs as part of the
comprehensive system testing and start-up phase.”
Utilities is marking the completion of the pipeline from Pueblo Dam to Colorado Springs today
from 10 to 11 a.m. at Pikes Peak International Raceway. The pipeline portion of the project cost
$204 million to purchase and install more than 7,000, 50-foot sections of 66inch diameter pipe,
more than 66 miles worth.
The $840 million SDS project also includes pumping stations and a treatment plant, which are
still under construction. Pueblo County commissioners oversee a 1041 land-use agreement that
requires compliance with numerous conditions before SDS can be turned on.