Whitewater park for Longmont?

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Here’s the release from the City of Longmont (Bill Powell):

The City of Longmont’s Concept Paper, the initial step in a full grant application to Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), has been approved to move to the final application step. It was one of 21 concept papers that were approved for this next step in the grant process by GOCO.

The City is planning a 65 acre river based district park along the banks of the St Vrain River within the Pavlakis Open Space in the heart of Longmont. The park will feature various amenities including a whitewater park on the St Vrain creek. The project is slated to begin design in early 2012.

The City is looking for partners from the community to assist in the grant process. Project partners are critically important in the final approval for grant funding. Partners would ideally provide financial participation. Support of any amount would be welcome!

More coverage from the Longmont Times-Call (Pierrette J. Shields) via the Boulder Daily Camera. From the article:

City planners hope to nab $500,000 in grant funds from Great Outdoors Colorado for a $3.1-million, 65-acre district park along the St. Vrain Greenway between Main and Martin streets south of the D-Barn. Planned amenities include a white-water course with five drops, a fishing pond, pond observation deck, river overlooks and habitat improvements along the greenway on the Pavlakis Open Space property…

Similar white-water courses are available in Lyons and Boulder, but Fitzgerald said Longmont’s more moderate course likely will be more family friendly because of lower water levels through the city.

Salida wastewater treatment plant update: Project is on schedule for completion in 2013

From The Mountain Mail (Callie McDermott):

Switching the old plant to the new one will be done in stages and handled “with kid gloves,” [Randy Sack plant manager] said, because “we’re changing the way we treat wastewater.”

Sack said the new system, activated sludge process, will replace the existing method of secondary treatment. Pre-treatment and digestive process will remain, but rotating biochemical contactors will be removed, he said. Activated sludge process, also known as Ifast, will speed the purifying process and ammonia won’t be used anymore, he said. A phosphorous filter isn’t yet required for wastewater treatment. However, Sack said it will be required in about four or five years, so it is being added. He said officials are “thinking ahead of the game” with the new treatment plant. Ultraviolet light will be the new disinfection method, replacing the use of chlorine gas and sulfa dioxide…

Included in plans are an office complex, workshop, conference room, showers and a reception area…The laboratory where water samples are tested for the plant, and for more than five other small plants in the area, will be expanded. A sprinkler system and about 150 new trees and shrubs will be added to enhance the landscape around the plant, he said.

More wastewater coverage here.

Snowpack news: South Platte basin is at 85 percent of average, C-BT reservoirs storage sitting at 77 percent of average

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From the Loveland Reporter-Herald (Pamela Dickman):

The basins that water officials watch for the Colorado-Big Thompson supply — the Upper Colorado and the Poudre basins — are running about 35 percent below average water content for the end of December. “It is really early, so there’s no beads of sweat on our foreheads yet,” said Dana Strongin, spokeswoman for Northern Water.

But the reservoirs holding water from the past two years are at 77 percent, which is high for this time of year, said Strongin…

Some are more full than others, adding up to the 77 percent. Horsetooth Reservoir is 72 percent filled. Carter Lake is at 55 percent because the level was lowered for maintenance. Lake Granby, the largest in the Colorado-Big Thompson system, is at 85 percent.

From the Associated Press (Dan Elliott) via the Vail Daily:

The snowpack statewide was 73 percent of the long-term average as of midweek. It ranges from 90 to 98 percent in the south and southeast parts of Colorado to just 63 percent in the northwest corner. The jet stream has been steering snow to the south of Colorado and cold weather to the north, despite La Nina conditions that would normally bring the storms over Colorado, said Kyle Fredin, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Boulder…

Klaus Wolter, a climatologist at the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Colorado won’t see a repeat of last season, which brought record snowfall to some parts of the mountains. The last four to six weeks have been dry, but Colorado has had five snowstorms since October, he said. “That’s a pretty good pace,” Wolter said. “I’ve seen bigger, but it’s pretty respectable.”

From the Summit Daily News (Caddie Nath):

“There’s a lot of snow season yet to go,” National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Kyle Fredin said. “That area has four solid months of snow coming up. The weather sometimes flips around, and I wouldn’t be surprised if (you’re) right back to near normal.”

Normal, for the end of December in Breckenridge, would be 64.4 inches of snow, but this season had produced a mere 32.7 inches from September through Wednesday…

So far this season, the mountains east of the Divide and even the Front Range have fared better than Summit County in terms of snowfall. Denver’s weather reporting station near Denver International Airport had seen 29.5 inches of snow as of Wednesday, ahead of its season-to-date average of 21 inches and on par with Breckenridge’s 32.7 inches thus far. Boulder, to the north of Denver and closer to the foothills, has had 53.4 inches so far this season, trouncing both Breckenridge’s year-to-date total and its own typical 28.4 inches this time of year.

Sand Creek: Suncor groundwater contamination prompts additional measures from the CDPHE

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From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

State health officials ordered additional measures on Friday afternoon to minimize environmental harm and prevent people from ingesting contaminated water. Those measures include posting of “Drinking Water Warning” signs at the refinery. Benzene levels in Sand Creek are fluctuating but reached 670 parts per billion on Dec. 22 — 134 times higher than the 5 ppb national drinking water standard. An anonymous tip from a Suncor employee Thursday alerted state health officials to contamination in tap water on the refinery property…

Denver Water authorities, notified around noon Friday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, immediately began testing the city’s water system for benzene, which can cause anemia, blood problems and cancer. Denver Water reviewed data from recent tests for benzene and found no elevated levels, utility spokeswoman Stacy Chesney said…

Over the past several weeks, however, monitoring along the creek found that petroleum is entering the creek directly without surfacing, said Warren Smith, a state health spokesman. “The dissolved material is coming in through the bottom of the channel, not through a seep on the bank,” Smith said. The state order requires installation of “an air sparging system” in Sand Creek — similar to a fish tank aerator — by Jan. 6. This is meant to help benzene and other contaminants in the creek evaporate into the air, instead of flowing into the South Platte.

The order also requires Suncor to install a soil vapor extraction system and dig a second “interceptor trench” by Jan. 31 to try to trap hydrocarbons floating in groundwater before they enter Sand Creek. Suncor has tried to make the first trench work better and is providing bottled water to workers, Smith said. Company contractors also have tested 50 of 57 buildings at the adjacent Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant for toxic vapors, finding problems in two. Toxic vapor removal systems have been installed along with a filter and a ventilator on other buildings, he said.

More Sand Creek spill coverage here. More oil and gas coverage here and here.