@aguanomics argues federal hydro revenue at $300m per year higher if Hoover Dam electricity was auctioned #ColoradoRiver

More hydroelectric/hydropower coverage here.

CDPHE extends Durango’s wastewater treatment compliance deadline by 6 years


From The Durango Herald (Mary Shinn):

While all the estimated $55 million upgrades will have to be made, the state health department agreed to extend the city’s deadline until 2023, City Manager Ron LeBlanc announced Tuesday night.

As a result, the city will be able to rethink its steep 2015 sewer-rate increases. City Council had been told the plant would need 80 percent more revenue in 2015 to fund all the needed projects and to finance a bond issue.

“The pressure to rush to an 80 percent increase has now been alleviated,” LeBlanc said.

Under the law, if the wastewater-treatment plant did not meet all the new regulations by December 2017, the plant would face consent order. Under this order, the city would not be allowed to issue more sewer taps and could face hefty fines.

Under the extension, the city will have to adhere to a schedule to come into compliance and limit the amount of phosphorous and nitrogen in the water. These two chemicals need to be reduced to curb imbalances in the environment.

Also, the city now will have more time to consider potentially relocating the plant further south away from town or another location. Councilor Christina Rinderle has been encouraging her peers to consider this alternative.

“It’s an opportunity to really think through these major investments,” LeBlanc said.

More wastewater coverage here.

Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment of the Upper #ColoradoRiver Basin

Click here to read the current assessment. Click here to go to the NIDIS website hosted by the Colorado Climate Center.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area celebrates 25 years #ArkansasRiver

Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (Abbie Walls):

The public is invited to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Join us for the festivities from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Nov. 7 at the Salida SteamPlant Ballroom, courtyard and the nearby Salida boat ramp.

“It’s only appropriate that the AHRA extend an invitation to the entire Upper Arkansas Valley community to help us celebrate our 25th Anniversary,” said AHRA Park Manager, Rob White. “They are the ones that helped establish the AHRA and it’s these citizens, along with local officials, employees and volunteers, who continue to make the AHRA the success that it is today.”

For 25 years CPW has worked together with the BLM and USFS to provide residents and visitors alike with some of the best recreational opportunities found in the country, while continuing to safeguard the significant natural resources of the upper Arkansas River Valley.

“The AHRA partnership has been instrumental in developing the Arkansas River into the gem that it is today,” said John Nahomenuk, BLM’s river manager. “The resources along the river are in better condition today than at any point since the inception of AHRA.”

Bring the family and try some of the activities that make the AHRA so popular! Youth activities will be open to the public from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the SteamPlant and the surrounding area. Activities include gold panning, fly fishing lessons, wildlife and geology touch tables and OHV demonstration rides. Refreshments will be served in the SteamPlant Ballroom at noon, followed by presentations from former Gov. Roy Romer and other state and local officials, including CPW Director Bob Broscheid and BLM State Director Ruth Welch.

WHAT: AHRA 25th Anniversary Celebration

WHERE: Salida SteamPlant Ballroom, 220 W Sackett Ave., Salida

WHEN: 10:30 am – Noon: Youth Activities
Noon – 12:30 pm: Light Refreshments
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm: Formal Presentations

WHO: You! Bring the whole family for a day of fun!


Fun Facts about AHRA:

  • The AHRA manages 152 miles of the Arkansas River and claims first place for providing more commercial whitewater trips than anyplace else.
  • AHRA offers a choice of six campgrounds and 102 campsites along the Arkansas River.
  • The Arkansas River through the AHRA is Colorado’s newest Gold Medal Waters Fishery
  • The Arkansas River within the AHRA, between Granite and Lake Pueblo, has almost 100 named rapids, Class II-V, with names like: Pea Shooter, Zoom Flume, Gosh Awful, Lose Your Lunch, Sledgehammer and Piglets Nightmare.
  • There are 14 mountains over 14,000 feet bording the western side of the AHRA. This is more than 25% of the 14ers in the entire state of Colorado and the most that can be found in any one location.
  • AHRA visitors can enjoy fishing, hiking, camping, picnicking, wildlife watching, mountain biking, rock climbing, off-highway vehicles and even gold panning!
  • For more information contact Abbie Walls (CPW) at 719-227-5211 or Kyle Sullivan (BLM) at 719-269-8553.

    More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.

    Dry October for Colorado #COwx

    From InkStain (John Fleck):

    Most of the way through October, it’s been a dry start to the 2014-15 “water year”, the season in which we build the snowpack to feed the rivers of the southwestern United States.

    “As groundwater contamination problems go, the stuff leaking from septic systems isn’t terribly sexy” — John Fleck

    Septic system
    Septic system

    From the Albuequerque Journal (John Fleck):

    That, says University of New Mexico engineering professor Bruce Thomson, is precisely the problem.

    “It’s groundwater contamination that’s happening all around us, and we’re not paying any attention,” said Thomson, an expert in treating human waste who delights in describing his academic specialty as “turd mechanics.”

    Septic systems drain away household waste into settling tanks, with the water spilling out into drain fields and the natural filtration of the soil doing the cleanup work. But when they don’t work – because homes are packed too closely together, or the systems are old or poorly maintained, contamination can result. The key problem is nitrates, which can render water dangerous to infants…

    The Carnuel neighborhood, located in Tijeras Canyon, is a good example of the problem that septic systems can cause. Homes in the area depend on wells for their water and use septic tanks to dispose of their waste. Measurements of water quality taken in the area show the problem, Thomson said. The higher up the hill you are, the lower the levels of nitrates. But for residents downstream from the clusters of septic systems, the contamination from uphill neighbors has left well water of questionable quality.

    It’s a classic example of what economists would call an “externality” – when the actions of one person impose costs on someone else.

    “You have an area where the groundwater is essentially undrinkable because of contamination from septic systems,” Hart Stebbins said of Carnuel. When that happens, taxpayers are often on the hook for coming in and helping fix the problem by providing piped-in clean water. That is what is happening in Carnuel, where the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority is now building a water distribution system extension to serve the community.

    More water pollution coverage here.