Custer County augmentation plan update

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Here’s an update on Custer County’s augmentation plan through the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, from Nora Drenner writing for the Wet Mountain Tribune. From the article:

A public hearing regarding the matter took place on Wednesday, June 17 in the county courthouse. Some 40 interested persons showed up to voice their opinions on the matter. The hearing began with an opening statement by UAWCD manager Terry Scanga. That statement illustrated the benefits of bringing a blanket water augmentation plan to the county. Scanga said the sources of augmentation water would not result in the dry-up of agricultural land in Custer County. Instead, said Scanga, the UAWCD would use water from its existing water rights to meet Custer County’s needs. Scanga further noted a blanket augmentation plan would allow the UAWCD to augment those wells that are currently out of compliance and as such are in need of water…

The UAWCD is proposing using the Texas Creek and Grape Creek water drainages to bring the water augmentation plan to the county. Also in the works is the building of reservoirs along Texas Creek and Grape Creek, however, sites or a time frame has not been established.

In his statement, Scanga also said that the local Concerned Citizens for Custer County organization C-4 has made inaccurate representations about the advantages of postponing the filing of the augmentation plan until after July 1 when new regulations go into effect. According to C-4, said Scanga, “The new rules will change the disclosure obligations of an applicant in respect to the proposed augmentation plan.” Scanga continued, “The new rules are no more stringent in requiring the applicant to demonstrate in water court that no injury will occur to other water right owners. It is odd that this citizen’s group has shown little concern about the protection of senior water right owners, which is the whole purpose of augmentation.” Instead, said Scanga, “The new rules increase the burden on water resource engineers, and therefore the cost of such engineers to all parties.” Scanga further said, “The new rules would likely decrease the efficiency of the process because the first cases subject to the new rules would likely experience delays and increased costs.”[…]

In the end, the commissioners asked the UAWCD to delay filing the water augmentation plan in water court to they could have time to review it. Scanga indicated the plan would be submitted by June 30.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Red Cliff gets $2 million for wastewater plant

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From the Vail Daily (Chris Outcalt):

“What I’m being told is that this is a done deal, we’re getting the $2 million,” [Ramon Montoya, Red Cliff’s mayor] said. “I don’t know what could possibly stop it at this point.” The town has gotten a few grants the past few years, but the $2 million puts it close enough to the $5 million needed to fix the collection system and the plant. Montoya is actually starting to think about when work on the project might begin…

Red Cliff regularly exceeds the capacity of its current sewer- and water-treatment facility and has repeatedly been cited by the state of Colorado for discharges into the Eagle River. One of the biggest problems with the facility, said Montoya, is that water is seeping into the sewer lines. “We’re basically taking in ground water,” he said. “We’re doubling the amount of stuff we’re sending through the plant.”

Meanwhile two El Paso County wastewater operations have received notices of violation from the state, according to R. Scott Rappold writing for the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

Paint Brush Hills and Cherokee metropolitan districts operate lagoon plants, an older method of treating sewage. Sewage is stored in ponds, where aeration and chemical processes remove contaminants. Paint Brush Hills’ plant serves about 12,000 customers in the Falcon area. Cherokee serves about 18,000 just east of Colorado Springs. Neither district’s violations were connected with threats to drinking wells or aquatic life.

In the more recent violation, by Paint Brush Hills, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on May 5 ordered the district to make improvements to its plant or face fines of up to $10,000 a day. According to the violation notice, the plant exceeded monthly average limits on the release of biochemical oxygen demand – the amount of dissolved oxygen in water – in seven months since January 2008. The plant also violated fecal coliform standards in December 2007 and chlorine standards in January 2009 and lacked enough pH, or acidity, in releases in August 2008. The releases were into an unnamed tributary of Black Squirrel Creek. The violation notice requires the district to submit plans for improvements to the plant and to have construction completed by Dec. 31, 2010, or show an engineer’s report proving releases from the plant were anomalies and pollution levels can be controlled by the facility…

In the other recent violation, Cherokee Metropolitan District was fined $80,082 in April for discharges of chlorine, organic compounds and fecal coliform into the East Fork of Sand Creek from 2006 to 2008. District manager Kip Petersen said hot temperatures caused similar problems with Cherokee’s lagoons, which led to the highest fines the district has paid the state. “They’re allowing me to pay it over three years, so that was generous of them. Still it’s a big nut and that really bothered me,” said Petersen. “I just felt it was a large penalty for something that was not necessarily within our control.” Cherokee is building a new sewage treatment plant, expected to be running next year, which uses machines, not ponds, to decontaminate sewage.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Buena Vista: Standup paddling clinic July 17-19

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From the Boulder Daily Camera (Philip Armour):

The inaugural Stand Up Paddling Nationals were held at the Glenwood Whitewater Park on May 31. The winner, Dan Gavere, beat about 20 other “watermen” in three disciplines: down-stream racing through Class II–III whitewater, slalom and surfing. “It was a riot,” says Gavere, who is also the Southwest sales rep for Werner Paddles (

In fact, he’s teaching an introduction to stand-up paddling July 17-19 on the Arkansas River in Buena Vista with the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center ( Gavere has even stand-up paddled on the Platte River in downtown Denver at the Confluence.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.