Northern Integrated Supply Project: Fort Collins taking a deeper look

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Here’s an update on Fort Collins’ efforts to evaluated potential impacts of the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project, from Rebecca Boyle writing for Fort Collins Now. From the article:

…now that the group hoping to build the Northern Integrated Supply Project is starting some deeper studies, Fort Collins city managers say they are learning new information. Some of it might indicate that things aren’t as bad as had been thought, especially related to water rates…

After the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District agreed to a federal request for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement about the proposal, Fort Collins has learned some new things that were not in public records when the city studied Glade’s possible impacts last summer…

Three reports in the past month shed more light on drinking water, wastewater and possible contamination from a former Atlas missile site near the proposed reservoir location. One study, released last month, says the impact to Fort Collins’ drinking water quality might not be as severe as originally believed. Nevertheless, city managers continue to worry about potential impacts on the city’s drinking water supply, partly because of a pipeline that might be built between Glade and Horsetooth Reservoirs.

Because Glade water will have more debris in it — the lake will be filled by spring runoff from the Poudre River, which often contains dirt and forest detritus — the water might be dirtier than Horsetooth’s. But Northern Water hired researchers who found any increase in that organic debris in Horsetooth would be “very minimal” and would not cause treatment costs to increase. Northern Water contends that Fort Collins’ own research shows the city can treat the higher concentration using existing technology already in place.

Northern Water’s research also shows the city won’t have to make expensive upgrades to its wastewater plants. City managers were concerned the system would have to be improved if there was less water in the Poudre to mix with treated municipal effluent, in order for the city to meet federal clean water standards, but Northern Water said any upgrades would not be the fault of the reservoir project. The city countered that there’s still a concern about water temperatures, which could affect wastewater treatment.

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