Sterling: Exploring options for compliance with CDPHE order

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Here’s a recap of the Sterling city council’s discussion of compliance with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s order for the town’s water supply, from Forrest Hershberger writing for the Sterling Journal Advocate. From the article:

Wednesday night, the Sterling city council held a special meeting to hear an update on the city’s water system. The research is being done by Arber and Associates, water, wastewater and reuse engineers. “There are a number of water quality violations the city is dealing with,” Richard Arber said.

The water quality issues are broken down into two categories: primary and secondary. The primary issues are contaminants: uranium, trihalomethanes and nitrates for example. The secondary issues address water hardness and sulfates. According to Arber’s study, the hardness standard is 100 to 200 milligrams per liter and Sterling’s typical range is 208 to 494 milligrams per liter…

Costs of upgrading the city’s water system were estimated Wednesday at between $17 million and $29 million. Earlier discussions among council members indicated residents might eventually be able to trade the cost of a home water purification system for what the city is required to provide. Wednesday night, the city council was addressed by a few residents and business owners regarding the possible price structure…

According to estimates provided by Arber and Associates, the upgraded water system will cost Sterling residents at least $65 per month. The costs would be based on what system is chosen by the city and the associated cost. The RO system would cost about $65 per tap; coagulation and filtration about $87 per month and lime softening $80 per month. The costs do not include existing pumping, distribution and water acquisition costs, according to Arber…

Rick Arber of Arber and Associates said the goal is to bring water quality to below health department’s maximum standards. “We have no choice,” Arber said. “By 2011, we have got to have a treatment plant online.” Arber cautioned that the effort of achieving acceptable drinking water will not get any easier. “Our industry has already picked the low hanging fruit,” he said. “so what’s happened is we’re having to pick lower and lower quality water.”[…]

The city will be meeting with the state health department next week regarding progress on the water system.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

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