Castle Rock: Wednesday the Town Council and the Town Utilities Commission will hear from water providers who want to supply the long-term needs for the town

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From the Town of Castle Rock via the Castle Rock News Press:

Members of the public, along with Town Council and the Town Utilities Commission, will hear from the groups that wish to provide the Town with long-term water at a special meeting Sept. 14.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at Town Hall, 100 N. Wilcox St.

Three of the four groups that have been short-listed in the search for the Town’s long-term water provider – Renew Strategies, Stillwater Resources and United Water – will each make a half-hour presentation, followed by questions from Town officials and the public.

The fourth proposal – the WISE agreement between South Metro Water Supply Authority, Aurora Water and Denver Water – is being reviewed by the Aurora City Council prior to being released to the public.

All four proposals will be evaluated against the same criteria, which include the opportunity to succeed, cost, local partnership opportunities, existing infrastructure, experience and water rights.

Seven proposals in all were received in response to the Town’s June request for water supply proposals. All of those proposals were reviewed against the same criteria in placing the four remaining proposals on the short list. At [this] week’s special meeting, the three groups will introduce their projects and provide information on their concept, water supply characteristics and costs.

This effort to secure a long-term water source is just one component of the Town’s Legacy Water Projects – the goal of which is to transition the Town to 75 percent renewable water by the time it is built out. (All of the Town’s water currently comes from nonrenewable wells.)
There are two other major components to Legacy Waters:

• The purchase of water storage space in Rueter-Hess Reservoir, which will open next year near Parker
• The construction of a water purification facility in Castle Rock, which will provide for 35 percent of the Town’s renewable water needs by 2013

Additional funding will be needed to secure the water that is needed for the Town’s future. The Town may hold a property tax election in 2012 or 2013 in order to fund the Legacy Water Projects.

More Denver Basin aquifer system coverage here.

Summitville superfund site: New water treatment plant dedication last Friday

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From The South Fork Tines:

“I want to thank the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for providing funding to complete the new water treatment plant at Summitville,” said Chris Urbina, executive director and chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “This project provided more than a 100 construction jobs in this area, and significantly improved water quality, restoring fish and aquatic life to the Alamosa River and Terrace Reservoir,” he said…

In May 2009, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was awarded more than $16 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and construction of the 1600-gallon-per minute water treatment plant began on Sept. 14, 2009. The plant will remove contaminants from acidic metals-contaminated mine drainage before the water leaves the site and enters the headwaters of the Alamosa River, which flows into the Rio Grande. Funds from the act are paying 90 percent of this remedial action; the department is paying the remaining 10 percent.

Gold and silver mining began at Summitville around 1870. Large-scale, open-pit mining began at the site in 1984. The mine operator, Summitville Consolidated Mining Corp., Inc., used cyanide heap leaching to extract precious metals from the ore. In this process, ore excavated from the mountain was crushed and placed onto the clay- and synthetic-lined heap leach pad. A sodium cyanide solution was then applied to leach out gold and silver.

Almost immediately after the heap leach pad was constructed in 1986, a leak was detected. In December 1992, the company abandoned the site and announced it was filing for bankruptcy. EPA immediately assumed responsibility of the site as an emergency response, avoiding a significant environmental disaster. On May 31, 1994, Summitville was placed on EPA’s National Priorities List of Superfund sites.

Since 1992, EPA and the department have conducted several interim projects designed to slow the amount of acid mine drainage coming from the site. These interim projects included: 1) detoxifying, capping and revegetating the heap leach pad; 2) removing waste rock piles and filling the mine pits; 3) plugging the adits or underground mine entrances; and 4) expanding the water runoff holding ponds and operating a water treatment plant on site. The new water plant, dedicated today, replaces one built several years ago.

More Summitville Mine superfund site coverage here and here.

Energy policy — oil and gas: Treating water used in hydraulic fracturing leads to opportunities to generate profit

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From The Wall Street Journal (Yuliya Chernova):

Ecosphere Technologies Inc., based in Stuart, Fla., is one of the dominant providers of water treatment for the shale-gas industry, according to Lux Research, a technology research and consulting firm. The company’s technology avoids the use of chemicals typically employed to treat wastewater.

Ecosphere’s process forces dirty water through pipes where ozone breaks down contaminants with the help of sound waves, electrically charged particles and changes in pressure. No waste is created in the process, because while the technology renders contaminants harmless it doesn’t filter anything out.

Another strong competitor for new business, according to Lux analyst Brent Giles, is WaterTectonics Inc., based in Everett, Wash. The company uses a process called electric coagulation, in which an electric charge forces contaminant particles into clumps that can be removed after they either rise to the surface of the water or sink to the bottom. The process avoids the use of chemicals, but it does produce waste that has to be disposed of.

Another company, Altela Inc., based in Albuquerque, N.M., earned a spot on Artemis Project’s 2011 list of the 50 most innovative water-technology companies in the U.S. Its technology mimics rainmaking. Wastewater is heated to the point of evaporation, which produces clean water in the form of vapor, leaving contaminant particles behind. The vapor is then condensed back into liquid form.

The basic process, called thermal distillation, isn’t new, but Altela has found a way to make it more efficient, by capturing the heat generated by condensation and using it for evaporation. Ned Godshall, the company’s chief executive, says Altela’s method uses a third of the energy typically required for conventional thermal distillation.

Meanwhile, a Wheat Ridge company, ProTreat Technology Corporation, has just inked a deal with Select Energy Services for treatment technology. Here’s a release from MarketWire:

Select Energy Services, LLC (“Select”), a water solutions and oilfield service company headquartered in Houston, Texas, announced today the signing of a license agreement with ProTreat Technology Corporation, (“ProTreat”), a Wheat Ridge, Colorado based provider of water treatment, recycling and reuse technology to oil and gas operators.

The agreement gives Select additional access to expertise in water treatment and recycling services and ProTreat licensed technology, while ProTreat gains exposure into new markets and geographical areas. “The strategic partnership with ProTreat will provide Select with a valuable partner in water solutions, water treatment and water recycling, and is expected to enhance our Water Solutions and Environmental service offerings throughout the US,” said John Schmitz, CEO of Select. “We look forward to providing a proven water treatment solution to the oil and gas industry.”

The ProTreat technology takes flow back water and produced water, blends, treats, and produces a salt solution (sodium/potassium chloride) that can be utilized by operators for hydraulic fracturing and other well operations. Construction of the first treatment facility has commenced at the recently acquired Lone Star facility in Weld County, Colorado, in the heart of the Niobrara Shale and DJ Basin. Additionally, Select and ProTreat have plans to begin working on a mobile version that can be utilized at the well site.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

Boulder: The Environmental Group and the Greater Gross Dam Citizens Coalition are hosting an informational Rally and ‘Afternoon on the River’ today to protest the Moffat Collection System Project

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Here’s the release from The Environmental Group and the Greater Gross Dam Citizens Coalition:

The World’s Largest Kayak Drum Circle, Citizen Rally and Public Meeting before the Boulder County Commissioners to Stop The Expansion of Gross Dam, Monday, September 12, 2011, 2:30-7:30pm.

The Environmental Group and the Greater Gross Dam Citizens Coalition are hosting an informational Rally and “Afternoon on the River” on the Boulder County Courthouse lawn. Join us for the World’s Largest Kayak Drum Circle where boaters and River Lovers alike are invited to participate. Bring Boats, bailing buckets, musical instruments or whatever else you want to bang on. We can Save Our Rivers, but we have to make some noise! Bring your boat, and bang it like a bongo! Wear Blue and dress for the River.

The Rally and Kayak Drum Circle begin at 2:30. The Public meeting with the Boulder County Commissioners begins at 4:30 pm.

The Boulder County Commissioners are determining their stance on the expansion of Gross Dam and after a barrage of citizen letters, have invited citizens to share their thoughts. Gross Dam is located wholly within Boulder County, but will take water from the Fraser and Colorado Rivers, pump it through the Continental Divide, and feed it to urban sprawl and golf courses along the front range. Specifically, much of the water from the Gross Dam expansion will be fed to the new Candelas Development along the HWY 93 corridor in between Boulder and Golden, and just south of Rocky Flats. Join us to Save Boulder County & Stop Gross Dam!

The Fraser River has already been declared an endangered River by national nonprofit American Rivers and because of too much diversion, the Colorado River no longer reaches its Delta at the Sea of Cortez. The expansion of Gross Dam means even more water will be taken out of these rivers pushing them definitively to the brink.

Colorado is a Local Rule State, which means land use decisions and planning are made at the local level. Our State Legislators tell us they have no authority at this time to create a statewide water allocation strategy or to stop water diversions and dam projects, even when river ecosystems are on the brink of collapse. That’s why it is so essential that we ask Boulder County to utilize its 1041 Local Rule Powers (just like Eagle County did) to stop this dam – because no one else can or will!

These events are centered around the public asking the Boulder County Commissioners to use their 1041 local rule powers to Stop Gross Dam, to save our Rivers and natural ecosystems, to save Boulder and to save our mountain communities. We are also asking Boulder County to use its 1041 or other powers to Stop Gross Dam in order to create a statewide discussion about our water use and allocation policies and strategies to protect river ecosystems, recreational activities and river-related economies. Until now, developers and water extractors have controlled water policy in the state. That’s about to change!

There are two pieces to the day’s events. First, The Environmental Group and the Greater Gross Dam Citizens Coalition will host a Rally, The World’s Largest Kayak Drum Circle and Workshop on the Courthouse Lawn at 1325 Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado. This will include:

– Live Music and the World’s Largest Kayak Drum Circle. Bring your boat – and bang it like a bongo! Citizens are invited to bring their boats, inner tubes, paddles, bailing buckets and other musical instruments. Wear blue and dress for an afternoon of music on the River on the Boulder County Courthouse lawn. We can save our Rivers, but we gotta make some noise!
– Information about the issues of Gross Dam, what Boulder County can do to stop it, and water use issues in Colorado will be provided.
– Workshop and talking points to assist citizens in writing their public statement for the evening’s Public Meeting with the Boulder County Commissioners.
Billboard Slogan Contest.
– Kid friendly events including art stations to create pictures about rivers.
– Bring signs, slogans and river gear. Families welcome!
– Boats can be dropped off from 12:00 noon on.
– This is a 100% peaceful event.

Second, citizens are invited to attend a Public Meeting hosted by the Boulder County Commissioners to discuss the issue of the expansion of Gross Dam and what the County can do about it. The County will give a presentation on the Gross Dam project and then open the floor to citizen comments. Each citizen can speak for up to 3 minutes. It is recommended that citizens arrive early to sign up for a speaking slot. Sign up begins at 3:30pm. The Public Meeting begins promptly at 4:30pm at 1325 Pearl St., 3rd Floor, Boulder, CO.

This deal is far from done, and now is the time for citizens to join together with our elected officials and together save our Rivers and our Communities. Be part of this important conversation to determine the fate of our State and to Preserve Colorado. The Rally and Kayak Drum Circle will begin at 2:30pm on Monday, September 12, 2011, at 1325 Pearl St., Boulder, Colorado on the Courthouse Lawn. The Public Meeting before the Boulder County Commissioners begins at 4:30pm at the Boulder County Courthouse located at 1325 Pearl St., 3rd Floor, Boulder, Colorado.

Visit www.StopGrossDam.com for full schedule and additional details.

More coverage from Laura Snider writing for the Boulder Daily Camera. From the article:

…some opponents of the Gross Reservoir expansion are asking the Boulder County commissioners to consider using their own 1041 powers to fight Denver Water, which says that nearly tripling the size of the reservoir is necessary to quench the thirst of its growing number of customers and to provide more stability in its supply system. Denver Water would like to pull more water from the Fraser and Williams Fork rivers through the Moffat Tunnel to fill the newly expanded reservoir. “We’re trying to say to Boulder County, ‘You have the power to stop this project, and you should use it to protect people in the mountain communities and, on a bigger scale, to protect the Colorado River Basin,'” said Liz Brown Morgan, a resident of Coal Creek Canyon who has worked to connect neighborhood groups and local environmental groups into the Greater Gross Dam Citizens Coalition.

Letters of concern about the reservoir expansion — many of which are from people who live near the reservoir and who would be directly affected by the construction on the dam — have begun to fill up the Boulder County commissioners’ inboxes. In response, the commissioners are holding a meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday. “The intent on Monday night is really for us to hear more about the concerns that residents are bringing forward and to make sure that we have as much information as we can on the potential impacts,” said Commissioner Will Toor…

Boulder County’s 1041 rules are designed, among other things, to protect the beauty of the landscape and to conserve soil, water and forest resources. But even if the county decides to use its 1041 powers in the case of Gross Reservoir, the commissioners must grant a development permit to Denver Water if the agency is able to show that it can meet the criteria laid out in the county’s land use code. “We wouldn’t just be deciding if we liked the project,” Toor said. “We would be looking at the impacts and requiring a set of conditions to mitigate those impacts.”

For its part, Denver Water disputes the county’s authority to regulate the Gross Reservoir construction. “Gross Reservoir is governed under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” said Joe Sloan, of Denver Water’s community relations department. “Any permitting that we go through at Gross related to recreation of dam height or the perimeter is under FERC control. It’s our opinion that the federal governance by the FERC would cover all the issues.” But even though Denver Water does not agree that the county can use its 1041 powers, the agency said it’s still willing to work with the county to mitigate construction impacts through an intergovernmental agreement. “We’re working on IGAs on the West Slope with the folks in Summit and Eagle and Grand counties on flows,” Sloan said. “We’re hoping to use that model that we’ve already used on the West Slope with Boulder County.”

More Moffat Collection System Project coverage here and here.

Drought news: Southeast Colorado ranchers continue to cull herds, lack of suitable pasture along with high costs for water and feed are cited

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“The biggest part of it in our area is that there’s no water,” said Dan Henrichs, president of the Pueblo County Stockman’s Association. “A little bit of rain will grow grass, but you need a lot of rain to fill up a dugout dirt pond.” One rancher was paying $70 per 1,000 gallons to haul water — about 10 times the going rate for the upper end of urban water costs — to what remained of her herd before she finally sold off the rest, he said. “This spring we sold off 60 head of cows because the price was good,” Henrichs said. “I didn’t want to get behind the curve like we did in 2002.”

The last big sell-off of cattle came during the historic drought of 2002. This year, much of the state saw near-record snowpack and ample summer rains…

In the Arkansas River basin, a drought that began a year ago still persists. While there have been some storms, precipitation remains below normal and the lack of moisture over the winter months was devastating to grasslands…

The current drought has been most severe in Texas, but stretches into Baca, Las Animas and Huerfano counties in Southeastern Colorado…

“You have an unusual situation with the cattle prices so high, and the price of grain and hay also up. On top of that, hay is hard to find,” Sabel said…

Farmers in Nebraska are selling hay in Texas for more than twice the price of a year ago — up to $330 a ton.

Club 20 fall meeting recap: Governor Hickenlooper bangs the job creation drum while U.S. Representative Scott Tipton touts the need for new water storage projects

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From KJCT8.com (Tami Brehse):

“A lot of businesses are sitting on a significant amount of cash,” Hickenlooper says. “We just need to get that log jam going. They’re not going to spend money and hire people unless they think they can make more profit.”

One of the other big topics on the state agenda right now is our water. Hickenlooper says the state is on tap to see a major shortage within the next 40 years. He says we need to find ways to store more water in the state. It’s an issue many of Colorado’s leaders see eye to eye on.

“I think it’s appropriate for the state to be exploring a variety of different areas to be able to store more water here in Colorado,” says Representative Scott Tipton, “to be able to meet some of the growing needs.”

More infrastructure coverage here.