Southern Delivery System: Pueblo County D.A. opposes Corps permit over Fountain Creek concerns

A picture named fountaincreek.jpg

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“Instead of prioritizing maintenance and repair of its existing infrastructure, Colorado Springs Utilities now wants to build a similar pipeline and infrastructure that will be vulnerable to the same problems that exist with its current infrastructure,” Thiebaut wrote in comments submitted to the Corps on Friday. “CSU should not be able to expand its water system until it has eliminated spills from its current system.”[…]

Thiebaut also is concerned about the additional volume of water that SDS would contribute to Fountain Creek, saying it would exacerbate existing water quality problems both for potential wastewater spills and through increased stormwater runoff. Along with the Sierra Club, Thiebaut sued Colorado Springs over sewer spills into Fountain Creek in 2005. Although a federal judge removed him from the case in 2007, Thiebaut has continued to challenge Colorado Springs during the Bureau of Reclamation’s environmental review and Pueblo County’s 1041 permit hearings…

In his statement to the Corps, Thiebaut contends Colorado Springs has not addressed concerns raised by environmental groups, the Colorado Water Quality Control Division and the Environmental Protection Agency during Reclamation’s review.

Meanwhile the Colorado Springs Stormwater Utility, Gold Hill Mesa and Department of Transportation are kicking off a $2.7 million effort along Fountain Creek, according to Danielle Leigh writing for the Colorado Connection. From the article:

They hope to reduce flooding and erosion, improve water quality by reducing pollution, and stabilize the overall condition of the creek and surrounding area. Through the mud, water, and plants, these volunteers fished out all the trash they could find during Saturday’s groundbreaking event…

In addition to picking up the junk, the storm water enterprise will be stabilizing the river bank. “There is so much damage through there. There is a lot of flooding and they are trying to minimize that,” Besse said. “We’re using some concrete rubble so we can bury it underneath, and put dirt above it so we can actually grow vegetation on top of it, and stabilize the bank,” Sampley said. The end goal is to give back to the environment…

There are actually 56 drainage basins and waterways you can sign up to adopt. To get involved you can call Jeff Besse at (719) 385-5566, or visit

Meanwhile, the Pueblo West Metro Board has decided to oppose the Corps permit unless Pueblo County drops the requirement for Pueblo West to join the Pueblo flow program, according to Mike Spence writing for the Pueblo West View. From the article:

Metro board members voted on June 9 to send a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opposing the wetlands permit (known as a 404 permit) needed to build the Southern Delivery System pipeline from Pueblo Dam to Colorado Springs…

In the letter, the metro district says the permit should not be issued until Pueblo County withdraws its flow management program requirements on Pueblo West. The letter outlines why the county’s requirements for Pueblo West’s participation in the flow management program are not in the public interest for several reasons:

– It does not protect, and in fact removes the utility of, Pueblo West’s water rights.
– It destroys the balance between the costs and benefits of SDS for Pueblo West.
– The portion of the project intended for use by Pueblo West is entirely on federal property over which Pueblo County has no authority to impose an exaction of water rights.
– The flow management program discourages investment in water efficiency and reuse. Pueblo West’s reuse and pump-back project are harmed by the county’s open-ended flow requirements in the county’s 1041 permit.
– Pueblo County’s claims that the final environmental impact statement requires Pueblo West to be a part of the flow management program is inaccurate, based on pages 65 and 618 of the report.
– If Pueblo West is unable to participate in the project because of the flow management program, it will still need to construct pipelines of its won to move its water from the foot of Pueblo Reservoir to its water treatment plant causing environmental impacts in addition those of the SDS.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Leave a Reply