Nestlé Waters Chaffee County Project update

A picture named nestlehaffeepipelinec.jpg

Click here to read Lee Hart’s analysis of last moment tactics from Nestlé Waters before the Chaffee County Commissioners approved the 1041 permit.

Here’s a release from Nestlé Waters via

On August 19, Chaffee County Board of County Commissioners unanimously directed County legal counsel to prepare resolutions of approval for Nestle Waters North America to produce spring water for its Arrowhead Spring Water Brand.

Nestle Waters has been actively engaged in Chaffee County since 2007. In November 2008, the company applied for a Special Land Use Permit (SLUP) and 1041 Permit. The process has included numerous public hearings, extensive community dialogue, thousands of pages of scientific, economic, and ecological and environmental data collection and research. The process is thorough, comprehensive, and involves the review of a number of different independent consultants and agencies with diverse areas of expertise, and the review and approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of County Commissioners.

“Chaffee County is a special place, we appreciate the many community members we’ve had the privilege to meet who have provided valuable advice and helped to shape our project to better fit this community,” said Bruce Lauerman, Nestle Waters North America’s Natural Resource Manager in Colorado. “We have a unique opportunity to protect a natural water resource, preserve beautiful open space, create local jobs and provide additional funds for education and other needs in the local community.”

For nearly two years, Nestle Waters has been working together with local residents, conducting site tours, and reaching out to local agencies and businesses to tailor this project to best fit the needs and desires of Chaffee County citizens. Included as part of its permit application, Nestle Waters voluntarily added a comprehensive community giving effort that will provide: a $500,000 endowment for local education initiatives; a permanent conservation easement to protect Nestle’s 115 acres along the Arkansas River; in-stream fishing access at the Ruby Mountain and Bighorn Spring Sites; multi-million dollar local contracts to Chaffee County construction companies to construct the five-mile pipeline; programmatic annual giving to locally identified needs in the community; opportunities for environmentally-focused field work with local college and high school students; a comprehensive, wildlife-habitat restoration project of the old Ruby Mountain fish hatchery (which will incorporate a number of local agencies and interested groups); and a commitment to hire at least 50% of its truck drivers from the local area.

As part of the conditions of its 1041 and SLUP permits, Nestle Waters will be required to provide a comprehensive land management plan of the spring sites, to include the hatchery restoration, surface water and groundwater monitoring and mitigation plans, protection of bighorn sheep habitat, streambank and wildlife friendly fencing, and other environmental, construction, and land use conditions. Long-term hydrologic monitoring, initiated in 2007 will continue throughout the life of the project.

“We appreciate the efforts made by the County Commissioners, Planning Commission, and Staff during this lengthy and complex permitting process,” said Lauerman. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with this community and working together to benefit the Arkansas River Valley for years to come.”

For more information about Nestle Waters North America’s operations in Colorado, please visit:

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Cañon City: Federal and state dough fund sanitary sewer expansion

A picture named sewerusa.jpg

From the Cañon City Daily Record (Debbie Bell):

George Medaris, recently-retired Fremont Sanitation District manager who now is working on the project as a consultant, said contracts are being finalized for the funding. He said the only cost to residents will be an estimated $600 cost to abandon their old septic tanks, and a standard monthly sewer charge of $18.26 once the sewer lines are in place.

More wastewater coverage here and here. outage

A picture named coyotenaturalbridge0507.jpg

If you were trying to get here using the URL today and were unsuccessful, I apologize. I was having problems on my network.

Everything should be okay now.

Fountain Creek: Colorado Springs Utilities fined $35,500 as a result of Sierra Club lawsuit

A picture named fountaincreek.jpg

Here’s a look back at the Sierra Club’s lawsuit against Colorado Springs Utilities over sewage spills into Fountain Creek, from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The Sierra Club says it has leveraged progress, while Colorado Springs claims it would have taken steps without the threat of a federal lawsuit…

Colorado Springs is spending millions to improve its sewer system, and is cooperating with the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District in a corridor master plan. Numerous studies are looking at water quality. The public’s attention in the past turned to Fountain Creek only after major flooding, but now it has become a major focus for water-quality issues in the Arkansas Basin. “If you look at the big picture, a lot of things on Fountain Creek have happened since the lawsuit was filed,” Ross Vincent, of the Pueblo Sierra Club, said Friday. “Without the lawsuit, I think we would have seen a continued record of violations, because their response initially was to spend ungodly sums of money on PR.”

Bruce McCormick, Colorado Springs Utilities chief of water services, emphatically disagreed. “We recognized how important this is in terms of environmental stewardship,” McCormick said. “Since 2004, we have spent $120 million, and we plan to spend $300 million more. These are commitments we have made to improve the system.”[…]

The judge retained jurisdiction for the next year, while saying enforcement by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was “effective.”[…]

The judge sided with the Sierra Club that federal laws were violated and assessed penalties that the state had not, Vincent said. “The remedies are weak if you want to make sure violators understand they need to make investments,” Vincent said. “If it’s cheaper to ignore the law, they will continue to do so.” Vincent said the early state compliance orders, which track violations back to 1998, did little more than require studies and paperwork while spills into Fountain Creek continued…

The suits came after two sewer lines broke during flooding of a tributary of Fountain Creek, less than one year after an operator error had released tons of sludge into the creek. Pueblo political leaders were livid following the incident, creating a year of turmoil that ultimately led to the Vision Task Force.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.

Energy policy — hydroelectric: Aspen’s Castle Creek hydroelectric generation station update

A picture named hydroelectricdam.jpg

Nearly three years ago Aspen residents approved bonding to fund a hydroelectric generation station on Castle Creek in town. Here’s an update on progress towards building the facility, from Carolyn Sackariason writing for the Glenwood Springs Independent. From the article:

John Hines, the city’s renewable energy utility manager, said the 1,880-square-foot facility will go through public review for final approval starting next month. If it’s approved by the Aspen City Council, construction could begin as early as the spring…

There has been minimal opposition to the facility, but some people are concerned about a decreased flow in the nearby stream because water will be drained out of it to generate power. Hines said the city will host a neighborhood meeting after Labor Day in which a hydrologist and an engineer will address water-flow concerns. He added that neighbors are generally in favor of the facility but are watching the design of it closely. “They are in favor of the hydro facility, but they want it done right; I don’t blame them,” Hines said.

A new water line is being built to replace the old one, as well as to accommodate the new plant, which will generate renewable energy for the city and increase its supplies by 8 percent over its current level of about 75 percent. The project would utilize existing water rights, head gates, and water storage of the original Castle Creek hydroelectric plant, which met all of Aspen’s electric power needs from 1892 through 1958, when the plant was decommissioned. When completed, the 1.05 mega-watt facility is expected to increase electric production by 5.5 million kilowatt hours annually.

City officials say that switching from primarily coal-fired energy purchases to hydroelectric power production would eliminate an estimated 5,167 tons of CO2 emissions — representing a 0.6 percent community-wide reduction in carbon emissions based on the 2004 greenhouse gas emission inventory.

The facility’s turbine and generator will be designed to convert the force of falling water into electric power. The water comes from the Thomas Reservoir, which is located at the top of Doolittle Drive and is the home of the water treatment facility. The water will travel down a 42-inch pipe, supplying the hydro plant with approximately 52 cubic feet per second. There are nearly 4.9 million gallons of water sitting above some residential areas and the hospital. The pipe would allow the city to quickly evacuate the water should the walls of the reservoir ever be breached. The electricity will be placed on the city’s grid and taken up to the water treatment campus to power those facilities, and to potentially produce hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen vehicles.

More hydroelectric coverage here and here.