Wastewater: Greeley’s Water Pollution Control Facility reduced energy use by 11.5% from 2011-2012 — Greeley Water

‘Worldwide production of oil shale has nearly doubled in the last six years’ — Jeremy Boak

Map of oil shale and tar sands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming -- via the BLM
Map of oil shale and tar sands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming — via the BLM

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Gary Harmon):

Reports of the death of the oil shale industry are grossly exaggerated, a Colorado School of Mines expert said.

Oil shale “is no longer in its infancy,” Jeremy Boak, director of the Center for Oil Shale Technology and Research at Mines, said during the opening of the 33rd annual Oil Shale Symposium here. “It might be in its rambunctious adolescence.”

Worldwide production from oil shale has nearly doubled in the last six years from 18,000 barrels per day of crude oil from oil shale to 35,000 barrels per day, Boak said.

The states of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming contain the richest deposits of oil shale in the world. The deposits of northwest Colorado are the most significant of them.

Shell Oil, however, this year announced it was pulling out of its Mahogany Project in Rio Blanco County, citing increased risk and competition. Shell was working on producing oil from deeply buried oil shale with little surface disturbance. Even though it is ceasing its Colorado operations, Shell is continuing to work in Jordan on a project, Boak said.

Other energy giants, such as Petrobras in Brazil, and Total in France, are continuing to work on oil shale production.

Planned projects and others in the works could account for production increases of as much as 10 percent over the next five to 10 years, Boak said.

Though critics have questioned the amount of water an industry would use, “I think we’ve got a perfectly good estimate of water use,” about 0.4 percent of the water used annually in Colorado each year, Boak said.

More oil shale coverage here and here.

Greeley to hike stormwater rates 7% for 2014 for additional manpower

Greeley Irrigation Ditch No. 3 construction via Greeley Water
Greeley Irrigation Ditch No. 3 construction via Greeley Water

From The Greeley Tribune (Analisa Romano):

Greeley residents will pay an average of 39 cents more per month in stormwater fees next year, thanks to a 7 percent hike that must be approved by the city council each year.

Even so, the city is about $50.4 million behind in stormwater projects that need attention, said Joel Hemesath, director of Greeley Public Works. Part of the backlog is because the city didn’t implement a stormwater fee until 2002, so stormwater for a time was competing for funding against other infrastructure needs.

When the city began the stormwater fee, officials intended to raise rates by 7 percent each year, but rates were frozen in 2010 and ’11 because of the recession, Hemesath said.

The average fee for residential customers next year will rise from about $5.61 per month to $6 per month. The average for commercial users will rise by $10.95 to $167.06 per month, and industrial users will pay $8.63 more, at $131.94 per month.

The increase brings Greeley’s residential stormwater rates on par with Adams County, with the city roughly in the middle when comparing what residents pay other governments, according to Public Works data.

Residents in Pueblo pay an average of $6.25 per month, and Loveland residents pay about $10.39 per month. Arvada residents pay about $4.30 per month, and residents of Littleton pay about $2.50 per month.

The increase will garner an additional $263,000 to help pay for a second crew of stormwater workers to be hired by the city next year, an additional stormwater engineer and the cost of the maintenance work they will do on detention ponds and stormwater pipes, Hemesath said.

He said the salaries of the new employees are also helped by a bolstered 2014 budget, which Greeley officials increased due to an expected rise in revenue.

The additional crew will be available to work on the $800,000 worth of projects budgeted in the stormwater fund next year. They will work to design a project to upsize existing stormwater pipes from Sanborn Park down to the Poudre River, install a stormwater pipe before crews begin construction on East 20th Street, and install some filters that clean collected stormwater before it’s released back into the river.

Ten projects, scheduled for 2015-22, are budgeted at $15.7 million, with the actual construction of the Sanborn Park to Poudre project at a cost of $9.6 million. That doesn’t count the 14 unfunded projects that total $50.4 million, bringing Greeley’s total future capital improvement needs in coming years to $75.9 million.

More stormwater coverage here and here.

Colorado Springs: Mayor Bach wants to elevate Parks to permanent favored water rate status over other rate payers

Colorado Springs circa 1910 via GhostDepot.com
Colorado Springs circa 1910 via GhostDepot.com

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Monica Mendoza):

Mayor Steve Bach’s proposed 2014 parks budget is counting on a reduced water rate from Colorado Springs Utilities so that the city can water its parks at the same level it did in 2013. Bach’s budget seeks to spend $2.6 million on water in 2014. If the city cannot negotiate a lower water rate with Utilities, the city would need $1.3 million more – money that is not in the budget.

Council members Val Snider and Merv Bennett said the council is in discussions with Utilities about a reduced rate for the city, which started in 2010 under a pilot program…

What it means: The proposed park budget assumes Utilities would continue a discounted municipal water rate. The discounted rate applies during what has been called the irrigation season, from May to October. It would not apply to year-around watering.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Pall Aria™ Water System Part of the Solution for Providing Renewable Water Supply to Castle Rock, Colo.

The Pall Aria(TM) water treatment system is part of a process that is enabling the town of Castle Rock, Colo. to transition from non-renewable water sources up to a 35-percent renewable supply.
The Pall Aria(TM) water treatment system is part of a process that is enabling the town of Castle Rock, Colo. to transition from non-renewable water sources up to a 35-percent renewable supply.

Here’s the release from Pall Corporation:

The installation of a new water treatment system at the Plum Creek Water Purification facility in Castle Rock, Colo. is enabling the town to treat and deliver renewable surface water to residents and businesses for the first time. As part of the facility, which opened in June 2013, the Pall Aria system is a key component in a unique seven-step treatment process the Colorado town is using to treat renewable surface water from alluvial wells near East Plum Creek that are under the influence of surface water.

“The Pall Aria water treatment system is part of a process that is enabling the town to transition from non-renewable water sources up to a 35-percent renewable supply,” said Walt Schwarz, P.E., Town of Castle Rock Utilities project manager. “The opening of the plant represents an important step toward our goal of 75-percent renewable water. The Pall system gives us the flexibility we need to accelerate our efforts as we pursue our long-term water goals.”

With the opening of this new facility, the town is not only moving closer to realizing its stated renewable water goal, but is also expected to save on total water purification costs.

Featuring a treatment capacity of up to 4 million gallons per day (MGD), the Pall Aria system is currently treating approximately 2.7 MGD. The treatment facility, including the Pall system, is expandable to 12 MGD, which will help enable the town to meet future demand.

“The Plum Creek Water Purification Facility is an example of the forward-thinking utility companies that have deployed our technologies and helped establish Pall as the leader in drinking water treatment solutions,” said Mitch Summerfield, general manager, Pall Process Systems. “We are honored to help treat the renewable water supply for present and future residents of Castle Rock.”

After the membrane filtration system was delivered and installed, Pall technicians provided start-up assistance and training for the town’s plant operators. Pretreatment includes aeration, flocculation/sedimentation, and green sand filtration, and is designed to remove iron, manganese, and organic matter prior to membrane filtration. Membrane filtration provides a barrier to suspended particles as well as organisms such as Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium that are associated with surface water. To learn more about Pall Aria water treatment systems, please visit: http://www.pall.com/water.

More infrastructure coverage here.

The Pueblo Board of Water Works is considering a 3% rate hike for 2014

Pueblo photo via Sangres.com
Pueblo photo via Sangres.com

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Pueblo water users could see a 3 percent rate hike next year under a preliminary budget released Tuesday by the Pueblo Board of Water Works. The final figure could change, however. A budget workshop is planned Nov. 12, followed by a Nov. 19 public hearing. Estimates will be fine-tuned by then. The increase would be in line with increases over the past two years of 3.5 percent in 2012 and 2.75 percent in 2013.

Pueblo’s water rates remain the lowest of major cities in Colorado, according to the annual survey taken by the water board.

A 3 percent increase represents about $1 per month for the average homeowner, excluding outside watering.

Utilities costs are expected to remain steady, while there would be more than $3 million in capital projects that are needed to maintain the water system, according to a memo by Seth Clayton, director of administrative services.

The $34.4 million budget represents a 4 percent increase from this year’s $32.9 million budget. However, actual expenditures this year are projected to be just $29.6 million.

Revenues also will be down, it appears. The largest source of revenue are metered water sales, which were expected to total $22.6 million this year, but likely will fall $1 million short. That represents a large decline in water use. Consumption is down 5.47 percent through September, despite drought conditions that continued until August.

Some of the cutback in consumption is a result of the city of Pueblo’s efforts to conserve water in outdoor irrigation. But homeowners cut back on lawn watering during the last two months as rains returned to the area. On the plus side, outside water sales could rebound next year if weather conditions improve.

The water board cut back one-year water leases this year in order to rebuild storage supplies.

More infrastructure coverage here.

H.R. 3189: Water Rights Protection Act (Reps. Tipton and Polis, NSAA vs. USFS)

Trail map for Powderhorn Ski Area via liftopia
Trail map for Powderhorn Ski Area via Liftopia

Here’s an update for H.R. 3189 from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. The bill is a result of new permitting requirements currently being litigated in a lawsuit between the NSAA and USFS:

A bill to protect ski area water rights from federal water claims is advancing in Congress. The bill, HR3189, is sponsored by Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., who is alarmed at federal encroachment on water rights in Western states. Tipton questioned witnesses in House Natural Resources Water and Power Subcommittee hearings last week.

The legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and has received strong support from a broad coalition of local, state and national interests concerned with recent federal attempts to tie up privately held water rights.

“Recent federal attempts to manipulate the federal permit, lease and land management process to circumvent long-established state water law and hijack privately held water rights have sounded the alarm for all non-federal water users that rely on these water rights for their livelihood, and have already hurt stakeholders in Colorado and in other Western states,” Tipton said.

The U.S. Forest Service is attempting to require the transfer of privately held water rights to the federal government as a permit condition on National Forest System lands. There is no compensation for the transfer of these privately held rights despite the fact that many stakeholders have invested millions of their own capital in developing them, Tipton said. During the hearing, witnesses from Colorado and Utah testified on the need for legislation to protect privately held water rights from federal takings.

The Forest Service permit condition already has hurt a number of stakeholders in Colorado including the Powderhorn Ski Area in Grand Junction and the Breckenridge Ski Resort.

The state Legislature passed a resolution in April opposing the Forest Service requirement to tie up water rights in land leases for ski areas.

More NSAA vs. USFS coverage here. More water law coverage here.

CU Boulder Research Community Responds to Boulder Floods #COflood

Surfing Boulder Creek September 2013 via @lauras
Surfing Boulder Creek September 2013 via @lauras

Here’s a blog post detailing the response of the CU Boulder research community to the flooding in Boulder County, written by Colorado Foundation for Water Education intern Abby Kuranz running on Your Colorado Water Blog. Click through and read the whole post. Here’s an excerpt:

The University of Colorado-Boulder is situated in the foothills-plains interface of the Flatirons, where Boulder Creek flows through the city center. Boulder Creek, which typically runs at about 300 cubic feet per second, maxed out at 5,000 cfs during the 5-day deluge…

As cleanup in Boulder continues, roads are re-opened, and hiking and biking trails are rebuilt. CU-Boulder researchers are also picking up the pieces. While many researchers will need to adjust and redesign long- and short-term projects, others are using the rare opportunity to gather data for unique comparisons in an effort to accurately characterize the hydrologic event.