Cañon City: Replacement well for Park Center Well comes in

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The well is now contained after surprising everyone with high flows. Here’s a release from the Bureau of Land Management:

Hydro Resources Colorado successfully contained the water flow from the new Park Center Well late Saturday afternoon. Water had been flowing from the well at a rate of 1,600-2,000 gallons per minute when Hydro Resources hit an unexpected high pressure during drilling operations on August 1. The drill site is located near the original 80-year old Park Center Well, five miles north of Cañon City off the Garden Park Road (County Road 9).

Fremont County assisted the BLM by constructing a bypass road around the project site to provide a sufficient working area for several pieces of large equipment. Traffic is one-way and travelers should expect some delays.

Additional review of the current condition of the existing well is planned over the next several days. The BLM is also in the process of reviewing any potential impacts caused by the excess water flow and any sedimentation into the adjacent Fourmile Creek.

In April, the BLM Royal Gorge Field Office awarded a $1,176,000 contract under ARRA to Hydro Resources Colorado, LLC. to drill a new well to replace the deteriorating 80-year old Park Center Well near Cañon City, Colorado. This well has provided municipal water for more than 40 years to Park Center Water District users. The BLM also uses this well for fire emergencies and other administrative uses.

More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.

Energy policy — hydroelectric: San Luis Valley irrigation ditches potential for low head hydroelectric generation subject of study

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From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

In conjunction with Colorado State University and Colorado Department of Agriculture, Applegate Group, Inc., is currently studying the potential for low head hydro within existing irrigation systems in the state, including the San Luis Valley. A grant from the Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy (ACRE) Program is funding the study. Applegate will issue a report this fall regarding available technology for micro hydro, with 20-30 turbines identified as appropriate for a typical structure in irrigation ditches. The company is also sending a survey to irrigation companies and ditch owners to gather further information and will choose two sites in the state to perform a more complete analysis…

[Lindsay George, Ph.D., PE, an engineer with Applegate] said low-head hydro could provide a revenue stream for ditch companies, and utility companies have indicated an interest in potential power derived from such sources. “A lot of the co-op/utility companies are very receptive,” she said. “There’s a lot more interest in this than solar because this runs at night. A lot of the companies are interested.”

She said surveys are being sent to owners of irrigation companies and ditches with more than 100 cubic feet per second (cfs) decreed capacity because “that’s where the most power can be generated on ditches.” Applegate is interested in learning how much drop the ditches have on their systems and flow rates so the company can determine how much power could be produced. Low head power is between 5 and 30 feet, George explained. Turbines could be placed on chutes on existing diversion dams, she explained. She said people think of enormous turbines in connection with hydro electricity, but she has researched a variety of smaller, diverse turbines that could be utilized on irrigation ditches to produce low head hydro power. A small propeller type turbine, for example, would require as low as 125 cfs and 6-50 feet of head. Another small turbine, producing 1-180 kilowatts, would require 175 cfs and 5-20 feet of head…

Another emerging technology is the vortex power plant that is only operating now in Switzerland and Indonesia but is under consideration in Basalt. The turbine is located inside the vortex. One of the systems in Switzerland uses 4.5 feet of head and 30 cfs to produce 7.5 kilowatts. George said this type of system is 65 percent efficient.

More hydroelectric coverage here and here.

Crested Butte: Town Council discusses extending wastewater connections to dampen the proliferation of individual septic systems

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From The Crested Butte News (Mark Reaman):

The Crested Butte Town Council and staff batted about different views at the Tuesday, August 3 meeting. Town public works director Rodney Due took the position of trying to keep out a proliferation of ISDSs (individual sewage disposal systems) around the town and nearby wetlands. “I think it is necessary from an environmental impact standpoint to try and not have ISDSs near town,” Due said.

Under an ordinance to be considered by the council, water lines would be extended outside of town only to utilities, governmental or quasi-governmental entities. Tap fees would be one and a half times the in-town rate and monthly fees would be twice the rate. The ordinance would allow residences and accessory dwellings to tap into the sewer system of Crested Butte. The sewage tap fees would be one and a half times the in-town rate and the monthly fee would be twice the in-town rate.

More wastewater coverage here.

Crested Butte: Local groups file water court motion to dismiss U.S. Energy’s Mt. Emmons Project conditional rights

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From The Crested Butte News (Mark Reaman):

Led by a local conservation group, the Crested Butte Land Trust and a homeowner’s association have come together to file a motion in District Water Court asking for dismissal of conditional water rights held by U.S. Energy for the purpose of mining molybdenum from Mt. Emmons. High Country Citizens’ Alliance (HCCA), the Crested Butte Land Trust (CBLT) and Star Mountain Ranch Homeowner’s Association located up Ohio Creek all joined in the motion filed Wednesday, August 11 in Montrose.

The conditional water rights in question come from the Slate River and Carbon Creek. U.S. Energy Corp.’s conditional water rights associated with the Mt. Emmons Project include proposals to divert water from the Slate River at the confluence with Oh-Be-Joyful Creek near the end of the Lower Loop trail, as well as Carbon Creek. The water right also includes proposals to store water in reservoirs in the Elk Creek, Carbon Creek and Ohio Creek drainages.

The motion states that U.S. Energy failed to develop a plan for mining during a six-year period that ended on April 2, 2010. The motion asserts that materials submitted to the U.S. Forest Service in late March of this year fail to meet the obligations specified in the 2002 water right decree and therefore the water right must be dismissed…

A conditional water right is a right obtained through the water court that fixes the priority of the water right with a date certain, even though the appropriation has yet to be completed. It gives the holder of that right time to complete the appropriation as long as they diligently pursue completion of the project. Every six years the court reviews what progress has been made toward completion of the project. Once the right has been perfected by use, the holder of the conditional right must then ask the court to make it an absolute water right.

More Gunnison River Basin coverage here and here.

Coyote Gulch archives outage update

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It turns out that the old Coyote Gulch ( archives are working. Web pages just take a long time to load due to timeouts for various links embedded in the pages. The bottom line is that you will have to be patient if you’re using the archives for research since pages can take over a minute to load.

I am in touch with a sympathetic former Radio Userland employee and he may come up with a solution. I’m also pursuing rendering the weblog to another hosting service and that may help as well.

Energy policy — nuclear: The Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board approves new rules for in situ uranium mining

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From the Denver Business Journal (Kathy Proctor):

The new rules require uranium companies planning an “in-situ leach” operation — a process that injects chemicals to leach the uranium from the ground without resorting to strip mining — to protect groundwater. Powertech proposed using such an in-situ mining technique on its Centennial project in Weld County, believed to hold 12.8 million pounds of uranium.

The new rules also requires applicants for in-situ uranium mining to get information on groundwater quality prior to prospecting for uranium. In an Aug. 6 filing to the reclamation board, Powertech said requiring pre-prospecting groundwater studies “economically and technically impracticable at best — impossible at worst” because the prospecting has to happen in order to study the groundwater. “This results in an obvious Catch 22 which would be fatal to any serious potential in-situ recovery project,” said the filing by Powertech President Richard Clement and attorney John Fognani with Denver’s Fognani & Faught PLLC…

Environmental groups involved in the rulemaking said they, too, approved of the board’s decision. “The state mining board took decisive action to protect our water and land from uranium pollution,” said Matt Garrington, program advocate of Environment Colorado, in a statement. “Today is a triumph for our land and water.”

More nuclear coverage here and here.

Arkansas Valley: South Slope Pump Storage hydroelectric project and Stonewall Springs reservoirs update

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The pump-back project, called South Slope Pump Storage, has been scaled back from a 70,000 acre-foot reservoir near Brush Hollow Reservoir in Fremont County to a project that would use only 8,000 acre-feet of water between two reservoirs. Water would be pumped uphill during off-peak hours and run downhill to meet peak energy demands. The small reservoirs are not intended to provide storage for anyone. Morley said new partners are looking at the project, and he does not intend to modify it from its core purpose of generating electric power…

One of three reservoir sites at Stonewall Springs, located on the Excelsior Ditch near the Pueblo Chemical Depot, is under contract with the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, which intends to use it as one of several exchange points to move water to northern El Paso County from Otero County. In May, Woodmoor’s board voted to pay $5.85 million for the site to build a reservoir that could store up to 8,300 acre-feet.

More hydroelectric coverage here and here.