Pueblo County’s stormwater control agreement with Colorado Springs fine-tuned — The Pueblo Chieftain

Last section of pipe for Southern Delivery System photo via The Colorado Springs Gazette
Last section of pipe for Southern Delivery System photo via The Colorado Springs Gazette

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The final agreement between Pueblo County and Colorado Springs on Fountain Creek is fine-tuned to reflect some of the concerns expressed earlier this week in public hearings.

“After we got feedback, there were a few minor adjustments,” Pueblo County Commissioner Terry Hart told the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District Friday. “In general, citizens have liked the agreement. It gives both communities the chance to work together. The second thing we heard was: ‘Let’s work together and start doing projects.’ ”

Pueblo County commissioners are scheduled to vote on the agreement Monday, capping a year of negotiations with Colorado Springs over the issue of stormwater control and the 1041 permit for the Southern Delivery System pipeline to deliver water from Lake Pueblo to Springs.

Colorado Springs City Council approved the deal on Wednesday, with the promise to spend at least $460 million on stormwater control in the city over the next 20 years.

The agreement also triggers the $50 million in payments over the next five years for the Fountain Creek district, provides $125,000 in funds for the district’s general fund this year and adds $3 million for dredging and debris removal in Pueblo over the next three years.

“We have two projects underway right now,” Colorado Springs Councilman Andy Pico told the Fountain Creek board.

The agreement now recognizes that Colorado Springs’ obligations on Fountain Creek will continue for the lifetime of the project. Hart explained that the agreement now under consideration simply defines specific actions that will occur in the next 20 years. The 1041 agreement includes stormwater language that will continue to apply.

Two other tweaks in the language clarified that the $20 million provided to the Fountain Creek district by Jan. 15 would be used to fund dams on Fountain Creek and that vegetation as well as sediment could be removed from Fountain Creek.

The district board also learned that an additional $10 million in federal funds over the next five years could be available, although the grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service is only in the exploratory stages.

It also pondered ways to permanently fund the district — a new commitment shared by Pueblo County and Colorado Springs in the proposed agreement. The members generally agreed a straight pro rata method based on population would be the fairest way. A formal vote could come in May.

Until the district decides to use its statutory power for a mill levy, it will rely on voluntary contributions from member governments, which include Pueblo and El Paso counties, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Fountain and other incorporated cities in El Paso County.

#Colorado: State encourages drinking water transparency — Fort Collins Coloradoan

Roman lead pipe -- Photo via the Science Museum
Roman lead pipe — Photo via the Science Museum

From the Fort Collins Coloradan (Jacy Marmaduke):

State officials are encouraging Colorado drinking water systems to share information about lead pipes with the public in response to an Environmental Protection Agency directive.

The EPA in February sent letters to state governors, tribal leaders and environmental and public health commissioners urging them to keep the public better informed of the locations of lead service lines, among other things.

Lead pipes and soldering are frequent causes of lead contamination in drinking water.

In March, the Coloradoan found that Larimer County leads the state in the number of sites with drinking water test results that met or exceeded the regulatory standard for lead between 2012 and 2015. Four sites clustered near Estes Park met or exceeded the lead standard during that period.

The EPA letter, released after a national uproar about high levels of lead in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water, asked states to work with public water systems, with a priority on larger systems, to post either on the state website or the water system’s website a materials inventory including the locations of lead service lines.

In response, Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, wrote to the EPA in April that the state will begin encouraging water systems to share that information with the public.

CDPHE has started emailing water systems about the subjects broached in the EPA letter and will include an article about lead in its quarterly newsletter in May, department spokesman Mark Salley said. Additional articles are likely, and the department is planning to hold outreach meetings around the state this year to discuss lead, Salley said.