From the Colorado Springs Independent (Pam Zubeck):
Colorado Springs Utilities plans to market $180 million in bonds this week to help fund the Southern Delivery System pipeline, the New York Times reported. That’s part of the roughly $800 million project cost, which, when financing costs are added over the project’s 40-year life, will cost ratepayers $2.3 billion.
More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.
Officials say they don’t think the benzene and naphthalene — common industrial agents — are threatening the city’s drinking water, but they are investigating how and when the chemicals seeped into the groundwater at 1717 15th St. They are looking into whether the site’s history as a coal gasification plant in the early 1900s, or its more recent use as a dry cleaner business, are possible causes of the contamination. Most experts are already pointing to the old gas plant as the likely culprit, which could mean the chemicals have existed underground for decades. Regardless of the source of the potentially dangerous compounds, Xcel Energy and the city of Boulder have agreed to share the cost of a $30,000 study into the surrounding groundwater as well as the costs of a possible cleanup effort.
The leak that cut off water service for town residents for about four hours late Saturday and early Sunday, and that has residents boiling water before consumption through this af ternoon, was yet another manifestation of aging water infrastructure in a town that is in the process of getting a new water tank to avoid problems like that encountered this weekend…
The town is using Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant money to start building a new water storage tank on the hillside above town, next to the old tank. The new storage tank will hold 240,000 gallons. After it’s complete, Oak Creek will renovate the existing concrete tank to ultimately double the town’s current storage capacity. With the new tank in place, the town will have about 24 hours of water available for emergencies, even on high-usage days.
Bill Paddock, water attorney for the Pueblo board, said the case needed to proceed to Division 2 Water Court Judge Dennis Maes immediately, rather than settling through stipulations before a referee. “This is the kind of case we need to move forward to the judge,” Paddock said during the [attornery’s conference Monday]…
The Pueblo water board said the supply for Woodmoor’s exchange plan is too uncertain to settle through typical stipulation agreements, and the case is speculative since Woodmoor does not yet control the supply of water it intends to move, said Alan Hamel, executive director of the Pueblo water board.
“We have to protect our Pueblo flow program,” Hamel said…
Woodmoor proposes to move water rights from the Holbrook, High Line and Excelsior ditches in Pueblo and Otero counties to homes in northern El Paso County. While it has contracts to purchase agricultural water rights, they have not been decreed as a source for a municipal substitute supply and there is no evidence that the change will occur.
The Colorado Supreme Court also has a pending case, City of Boulder et al. v. City and County of Broomfield, that could put new limits on municipal exchange applications, Paddock said.
Woodmoor submitted an engineering report last week, but Paddock and Steve Leonhardt, attorney for the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, said it was not sufficient to determine if Woodmoor’s exchange plan would work or is legal. “I’m concerned that virtually everything in this case is framed in the hypothetical,” Leonhardt said. “It’s very difficult to respond to the engineering in these circumstances.”[…]
Division I Water Court Judge Roger Klein sided last year with Broomfield in awarding an exchange decree even though the city did not own the water supply it proposed to use. Broomfield argued it had more flexibility as a government entity in complying with the anti-speculation doctrine. Boulder and Centennial opposed the case saying Broomfield had not proved it either owned the water supply or provided evidence that it “can and will” acquire the supply. Several Arkansas River basin groups, including the Pueblo water board, Southeastern district, Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, Pueblo West and Colorado Springs, entered that case on Broomfield’s side. All have exchange decrees pending that could be affected by the Broomfield decision. Oral arguments in the case begin today.