Cedaredge: Water rates to go up

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From the Delta County Independent (Bob Borchardt)

With Resolution 13-2010, the monthly base rate for domestic water users was increased from $16.50 to $21 for up to 10,000 gallons usage per month. It also established a new monthly charge — a capital replacement fee — of $4, and maintained the current monthly $4 capital improvement fee and $8 debt reduction fee. Out-of-town users also will pay a $10 monthly surcharge. The total base monthly charge for in-town users will be $37 per month, effective July 1. Out-of-town users will pay $47 per month. According to Cedaredge town administrator Kathleen Sickles, those charges, when added together, will reflect an $8.50 per month increase on water users monthly statements, starting with the August billing.

More infrastructure coverage here.

EPA to Initiate Rulemaking to Reduce Harmful Effects of Sanitary Sewer Overflows

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Here’s the release from the Environmental Protection Agency (Charles Glass):

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is initiating a rulemaking to better protect the environment and public health from the harmful effects of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) and basement backups. In many cities, SSOs and basement backups occur because of blockages, broken pipes and excessive water flowing into the pipes. SSOs present environmental and health problems because they discharge untreated wastewater that contains bacteria, viruses, suspended solids, toxics, trash and other pollutants into waterways. These overflows may also contribute to beach closures, shellfish bed closures, contamination of drinking water supplies and other environmental and health concerns.

Infrastructure issues were discussed at the Coming Together for Clean Water Conference held by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson on April 15, 2010. The agency plans to address these issues as part of its efforts to protect public health and revitalize local waterways.

EPA is considering two possible modifications to existing regulations: (1) establishing standard National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit conditions for publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) permits that specifically address sanitary sewer collection systems and SSOs; and (2) clarifying the regulatory framework for applying NPDES permit conditions to municipal satellite collection systems. Municipal satellite collection systems are sanitary sewers owned or operated by a municipality that conveys wastewater to a POTW operated by a different municipality. As a part of this effort, the agency is also considering whether to address long-standing questions about peak wet weather flows at municipal wastewater treatment plants to allow for a holistic, integrated approach to reducing SSOs while at the same time addressing peak flows at POTWs.

To help the agency make decisions on this proposed rulemaking, EPA will hold public listening sessions and the public can submit written comments. EPA will accept written comments on the potential rule until 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

More information on sanitary sewer overflows, the potential rule and a schedule of the upcoming listening sessions: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=4

More wastewater coverage here.

Runoff news: Dillon Reservoir is spilling

Denver Water employees Rick Geise and Nate Hurlbut assisted in setting the plug, which helps prevent chunks of ice and snow from falling into the spillway. Photo credit: Denver Water

From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Julie Sutor):

Water from Dillon Reservoir began flowing through the morning glory spillway into the Lower Blue River at 5 a.m. Tuesday. Water spills through the “glory hole” when the reservoir’s water level reaches its full elevation of 9,017 feet. Water also flows through the waterworks and into the Blue River from the bottom of the dam. The spillway ensures water never flows over the top of the dam. Outflows into the Lower Blue reached 235 cubic feet per second (cfs) Tuesday, with 220 of that coming from the bottom of the dam. As the snowpack continues to melt, the percentage of water coming from the top of the reservoir, via the spillway, will increase. Outflows into the Lower Blue are forecast to peak at 1,100 cfs on June 9. Inflows are forecast to peak at 1,300 cfs on June 9.

Cañon City: New Arkansas River whitewater parks open for business — Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival June 25-26

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From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Andrew Wineke):

The park, which was officially opened earlier this month, was humorously dubbed “WKRP in Cañon City” (if you’re too young to get the joke, google it) — the acronym stands for Whitewater Kayak and Recreation Park.

“I’ve always thought that we needed a whitewater park,” said Will Colon, co-owner of Raft Masters in Cañon City. “We’ve always let the river run through the city and never really used it.” About three years ago, Colon decided to do something about it. He raised money and brought in experts, pitched the idea to city leaders and pretty soon, WKRP was under way. With a $200,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado and $200,000 more in local cash and in-kind contributions, an excavator began laying rock in the riverbed in January between Depot and Centennial parks, around the Fourth Street viaduct.

The core of the park is a pair of man-made waves, dubbed Flytrap and Nessman, where giant concrete blocks were placed in the river and form frothing piles of foam as the Arkansas crashes over them. Kayakers and rafters, and potentially the occasional surfer or boogie boarder, can play in the waves, surfing and cartwheeling and spinning. For rafters and kayakers finishing a Royal Gorge trip, the waves will be a final hit before taking out…

June 25 and 26, the park will host the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival — a week after the Fibark festival in Salida, the state’s largest. Colon hopes to add more waves to the park and extend the bank improvements upstream. He also hopes the park won’t be just a summertime attraction. “Ideally, we want a wave that will work in the wintertime,” Colon said. “We’re in the banana belt, we have good weather in the winter.”

More whitewater coverage here.

Snowpack news: Cold weather and recent storms combine to keep the South Platte Basin numbers up

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

The South Platte River basin, which includes the Poudre River, has a snowpack 110 percent of normal. It’s even more robust north of Rocky Mountain National Park, where the snowpack around Joe Wright Reservoir is 150 percent of normal, according to U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service data. The snow in the Laramie and North Platte river basins is at 111 percent of normal. West of the Continental Divide, the snowpack in the Upper Colorado River basin is lagging at 85 percent of normal.

Southern Delivery System: Details of Colorado Springs Utilities’ plans for the Pueblo Dam north outlet works include others in the service area

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Colorado Springs Utilities water attorney David Robbins took pains to explain that excess capacity in the North Outlet Works, pumping station and pipeline would be different than the concept currently used by Reclamation. “We need to be clear that there are plans on the part of several SDS participants to serve others through the project,” Robbins said.

In fact, contracts being sought by Colorado Springs, Security, Fountain and Pueblo West would use excess capacity of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project in Lake Pueblo. Colorado Springs wants to apply the same concept to the North Outlet Works, which it would build at its own expense and deed to the Bureau of Reclamation. While a maximum of 96 million gallons a day could be diverted through the new structure Colorado Springs intends to build at the base of Pueblo Dam, not all of it would be needed immediately, and over time the full amount would not be needed every day. Of the capacity, up to 78 million gallons daily would go to El Paso County, and up to 18 million gallons daily to Pueblo West. Colorado Springs City Council has discussed the possibility of allowing El Paso County water users other than Security and Fountain to use the pipeline, but would stay within the 78 million gallon per day limit, Fredell said.

Colorado Springs also wants to build a pipeline from the dam to its connection with Pueblo West’s intake larger than it needs to be to serve the needs of SDS. During negotiations, Colorado Springs revealed it intends to recoup costs for building the North Outlet Works by selling the excess capacity for hydroelectric projects or future connections to the line. The first portion of the pipeline would be 90 inches in diameter, narrowing to 66 inches in diameter as it heads north through Pueblo West. Only about 25 percent of the maximum capacity would be used, said Keith Riley, SDS project manager. The cost for that part of SDS would be about $30 million. “It would be a multiuse pipeline with the potential for others to tie on,” Riley said. “The SDS participants wouldrecapture revenue from it.”[…]

Colorado Springs also asked for changes in the contract that would allow it to use water from any source, rather than just native Arkansas River flows as the contract originally stated. Fredell said water from any source could be used in the pipeline, and those uses might be for augmentation as well as municipal needs. Reclamation officials asked Colorado Springs to review all of the water rights that would be used in SDS at the next negotiating session to verify what was studied in the EIS.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.