The Pueblo County Commissioners hire Wright Water Engineering to review SDS 1041 permit compliance

Southern Delivery System route map -- Graphic / Reclamation
Southern Delivery System route map — Graphic / Reclamation

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Jeff Tucker):

If rushing water had to threaten a county road, the timing couldn’t have been better for the Pueblo Board of County Commissioners.

The commissioners on Wednesday unanimously approved a contract with Wright Water Engineering to the accompaniment of text messages from the public works department informing them that the surging Fountain Creek was threatening a portion of Overton Road.

The $115,000 contract will allow the county to tap into Wright Water’s expertise as it continues to evaluate whether Colorado Springs has complied with provisions of the permit regarding stormwater control that allowed Colorado Springs to build the Southern Delivery System water pipeline from the Pueblo Dam to Springs.

County Land Use Attorney Gary Raso said that in his conversations with the engineers at Wright, they were very familiar with the Fountain Creek and its issues in the past.

The Fountain serves as the primary drainage for Colorado Springs, along with other communities including Fountain, Monument, Security and Widefield.

“Pueblo County is incurring significant costs due to the failures of the north,” said Commissioner Terry Hart.

But the study focuses on Colorado Springs, particularly whether the city’s lack of any sustainable funding for stormwater improvement projects that would mitigate the impacts to Fountain Creek is a violation of the agreement.

The county is waiting until August to decide whether to issue a showcause hearing to Colorado Springs on whether to revoke or make significant changes to the agreement.

Again, the commissioners discussed the impact of the various burn scars in the area, including the Waldo Canyon burn scar.

But Commissioner Sal Pace noted that the Springs had eliminated its stormwater enterprise long before the Waldo Canyon Fire devastated the community.

“I think talking about the burn scar is a distraction,” Pace said. “These problems existed before the Waldo Canyon Fire. It implies that this is a new problem because of an act of God, when it was an act of man.”

Commission Chairwoman Liane “Buffie” McFadyen noted that the burn scar brings the overall lack of stormwater infrastructure into greater focus.

“This particular set of storms, combined with the burn scar, combined with the lack of infrastructure, will give Wright engineering a worst-case scenario,” she said.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

EPA’s new WOTUS rule expected soon, amid pushback

Your Water Colorado Blog

Photo with permission by John B. Kalla High-country wetland with Colorado aspens. Photo with permission by John B. Kalla via Flickr.

By Mark Scharfenaker

Wherefloweth the Clean Water Act Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule jointly proposed last spring by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers? The rule clarifies which waters are covered under the Clean Water Act, raising concerns over a potentially expanded federal jurisdiction over previously uncovered waterways, wetlands, and groundwater resources.

The Corps and the EPA have asserted the rules will save time and money in making jurisdictional determinations and provide better protection of the public’s water resources as the Clean Water Act intended, without affecting any new types of waters.

But after more than one million public comments, a questionable “campaign” by the EPA to promote the rule, a GOP-majority Congress aiming to make the agency start over, and the two-term Obama Administration winding down, this important rulemaking very well…

View original post 823 more words

A favorite weather meme from a Gazette reporter #cowx

Granby dials back fluoride dosing in response to new federal guidelines

Calcium fluoride
Calcium fluoride

From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Lance Maggart):

The PHS has reduced the optimum recommended amount of fluoride in municipal water systems to a maximum of 0.7 milligrams per liter. The previous recommended range, from 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams, was changed this year for the first time since 1962.

Fluoride levels in Granby’s water supply vary depending on whether the water comes from the North Service Area or the South Service Area, two separate water systems providing public water service to community residents. Historically the fluoride levels in the two different service areas have been 1.1 milligrams per liter.

Following the new recommendations the North Service Area began reducing the amount of fluoride added to the water system. Granby Town Manager Wally Baird explained the levels in the North Service Area are already down to 0.9 milligrams per liter, and the Town plans to continue to reduce North Service Area down to the recommended level of 0.7 milligrams.

The South Service Area’s fluoride levels will remain at 1.1 milligrams per liter. No fluoride is added to the water in the South Service Area, explained Superintendent of the South Service Area Doug Bellatty. Instead the water levels in the South Service Area are naturally occurring.

Bellatty explained why the fluoride levels in the South Service Area will remain the same.

“The only process available to communities to lower the naturally occurring levels is through reverse osmosis,” he said, “which is extremely expensive and energy consuming.”

Bellatty pointed out that while the recommendation levels have been dropped, the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) — the highest level of a contaminant allowed in drinking water — for fluoride is 4 milligrams per liter.

More water treatment coverage here.

Sump pumps hooked directly to wastewater lines a headache in Colorado Springs

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

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Ryan Maye Handy):

…some incorrectly installed sump pumps in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood, around Colorado Avenue and 31 Street, have caused Colorado Springs Utilities’ wastewater lines to overflow with groundwater.

Utilities crews have worked for the last two weeks to remove some water from overloaded wastewater systems before the contaminated water overflows manholes and rushes into the street, said Utilities spokesman Steve Berry.

Pumps hooked up directly to the wastewater system are a problem for Utilities and homeowners.

“The number one risk is really for the customer,” Berry said Tuesday. “If the sump pump is hooked up to the wastewater system … then the biggest threat is really to your home.”

If excess groundwater gets pushed into the wastewater system, it could backfire and send water back into a home or a neighboring home, Berry said…

Sump pumps are supposed to discharge excess groundwater outside a home, typically through a pipe that dumps into a yard. But, particularly in older neighborhoods such as Pleasant Valley, sometimes the pumps are connected directly to a home’s wastewater line, which connects to Utilities’ wastewater main.

Homeowners own their wastewater lines and are responsible for maintaining them, and if damage on the private line affects the main Utilities line, homeowners could be liable, Berry said. He said homeowners should make sure pumps are correctly installed, although most will likely have to hire someone to check the system.

“These folks don’t even know, and it’s certainly not their fault, but now they need to,” Berry said.

More wastewater coverage here.

“Why is plastic in the oceans such a huge problem?” @5gyres

Snowpack news: Great looking statewide map but % of normal is misleading after runoff starts

Check out the Basin High/Low graph for your favorite basin to see how much snow water equivalent is left. There will be a new streamflow forecast for Colorado released week after next. Below is the streamflow forecast from May 1.

May 1, 2015 Colorado streamflow forecast map via the NRCS
May 1, 2015 Colorado streamflow forecast map via the NRCS