Aspen: Stormwater runoff

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From the Aspen Daily News (Catherine Lutz):

At one major downtown outlet, Aspen allows 11 times more sediment to flow into the river than the national average. City officials monitored the Mill Street “outfall” from 2003 to 2007, and found that the ratio of suspended solids going into the river averaged 1,700 parts per million. That’s 11 times the national average of 150 parts per million, said April Barker, the city’s stormwater manager. The Mill Street outfall is located at the bridge that crosses the Roaring Fork River leading to Red Mountain. It’s the largest of three major drainages in the downtown area, and, with nothing to filter the runoff, the most impacted one, said Barker. At one point the monitoring results showed sediment levels at 20 times the national average, she said. “In rural areas stormwater has the ability to hit a street or roof and then hit grass before going into the river,” she said. “But in an urban area [stormwater] carries pollutants with it without the ability to get filtered in grass. So that’s why lot line to lot line development has more impact than if everyone was more spread out. It’s something that has to be controlled; we need to find way to treat it.”[…]

Aspen can be said to have more responsibility than other Roaring Fork River communities, because it’s essentially the first place manmade pollutants can enter the river. “We are the upstream component to this watershed, so we are putting in the pollutants,” said Barker. “It comes out of Independence Pass clean.”

More stormwater coverage here and here.

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