Is your water service line made of lead?

Mile High Water Talk

This easy, do-it-yourself check of the pipe that brings water into your home is a good place to start.

By Dana Strongin

nprsilverorgray To check your service line’s material, use a key or coin to scratch the pipe’s surface, as NPR shows here.

When it comes to the risk of exposure to lead — and its serious health impacts — there’s more than one place to look. Since lead was once used in everything from gasoline to household plumbing to paint, the toxic element can be found in many places in our community.

And while there’s not lead in the water Denver Water delivers to your home, the risk of lead leaching into clean water increases if you have lead pipes or plumbing fixtures.

If you’re wondering whether your drinking water is contributing to your risk for lead exposure, the first place to check is your service line, the pipe that connects…

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Jeffco announces meeting on Indian Hills groundwater quality, Oct. 4 — The Canyon Courier

Groundwater movement via the USGS
Groundwater movement via the USGS

From The Canyon Courier (Joe Moylan):

The Jeffco Board of Public Health has announced it will hosting a meeting with the Indian Hills community to review and discuss the Indian Hills Groundwater Water Quality Modeling Project Report.

The meeting, an initial step of a community engagement process around groundwater quality issues in Indian Hills, will take place at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Indian Hills Community Center, 5381 Parmalee Gulch Road.

In 2015, the Board of Public Health contracted Dr. Margaret Herzog, a professional engineer with PH Associates LLC in Lakewood, to develop a groundwater model of the Parmalee Gulch basin using available data to evaluate the impact of existing and potential new septic systems on groundwater, according to a Jeffco Public Health news release. The purpose of the modeling study was to integrate more than 40 years of research in the Turkey Creek watershed and Parmalee Gulch sub-basin, conduct advanced geospatial analysis, and to determine if and how planned and potential development might increase nitrate pollution in groundwater, which serves Indian Hills private wells and the Indian Hills Water District’s public wells.

In Parmalee Gulch, groundwater serves as the primary source of drinking water for many residents of Indian Hills, a residential community of approximately 1,200 people, the release stated.

To protect the groundwater system, a prohibition of septic systems on certain lots in Indian Hills was instituted in 1979 by the county because of elevated nitrate pollution from septic systems in the groundwater, the release stated. Using existing water quality and land-use data, along with simple modeling methods, the modeling project was designed to inform future public health decision-making related to groundwater quality in Indian Hills.

In August, Jeffco Public Health released the Indian Hills Groundwater Water Quality Modeling Project Report to the public and requested written feedback and comments. The public is invited to submit written comments to or by mail to Roy Laws, Jefferson County Public Health, 645 Parfet St., Lakewood, CO 80125.

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

Upper Colorado River Basin month to date precipitation through September 25, 2016.
Upper Colorado River Basin month to date precipitation through September 25, 2016.

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

Searching for solutions to help trout keep their cool

Mile High Water Talk

Experiment aims to improve stream health in Fraser River Valley by releasing water intended for the Front Range.

By Jay Adams

The Fraser River Valley in Grand County is known for its scenic views, hiking, biking and fishing, but this summer the valley turned into a high-altitude laboratory for the second year of a landmark experiment.

After water temperatures rose in Ranch Creek — a popular trout-fishing stream in Grand County — Denver Water voluntarily released around 120 acre-feet (40 million gallons) of water into the creek instead of diverting it to customers on the Front Range.

In early August, Denver Water released an additional 40-million gallons of water from its diversions into Ranch Creek over a 10-day span. Over a 10-day span in early August, Denver Water released an additional 40 million gallons of water into Ranch Creek instead of diverting the water to the Front Range.

The 10-day experiment in August was part of Learning By Doing — a new partnership between Denver Water, Northern Water, Grand County, Trout…

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@EPA: Renewed Call to Action to Reduce Nutrient Pollution and Support for Incremental Actions to Protect Water Quality and Public Health

Wastewater Treatment Process
Wastewater Treatment Process

From Circle of Blue:

EPA Wants More State Attention on Nutrient Pollution
In a memo to state environmental regulators and water directors, the EPA’s top water official called nutrient pollution “one of the greatest challenges” to the country’s water and a “growing threat” for human health and the economy.

Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for water, called for greater attention at the state level to nutrient pollution and for more collaborative programs to keep plant vitamins from getting into the water.

New FEMA floodplain maps bring changes to Morgan County — The Fort Morgan Times

Proposed Changes to Effective Floodplain in Morgan County, Colorado. (Red = increase, Green = decrease, blue = no change.)
Proposed Changes to Effective Floodplain in Morgan County, Colorado. (Red = increase, Green = decrease, blue = no change.)

From The Fort Morgan Times (Stephanie Alderton):

If the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s latest floodplain maps go into effect in 2017, Morgan County’s flood risks will look a little different.

As a part of the National Flood Insurance Program, Morgan County’s highest flood risk areas are shown on maps created by FEMA, which help determine property values and insurance rates. For the first time in about 35 years, FEMA has released a new preliminary floodplain map for the county. It introduces several changes to the old map, making the floodplain smaller in some areas and bigger in others.

The map labels areas that are at low, moderate and high risk from flooding, based on the flow rates of nearby rivers. Properties in high-risk areas have higher flood insurance rates and more building restrictions. The last update to Morgan County’s floodplain map was in 1989, while the maps for specific towns like Brush haven’t been updated since 1981.

For some parts of Morgan County, the new flood map isn’t big news. The city of Fort Morgan has always been too elevated to be greatly affected by the floodplain, and Bradley Curtis, the Engineering and Public Works director, said that hasn’t changed.

“It has minimal effects,” he said. “Not a whole lot of developments are affected apart from Riverview Park and the area down by Maverick’s, which we knew about already.”

Parts of Fort Morgan were flooded during the summer, but that was due to heavy rainfall rather than an overflowing river. The FEMA maps only take overflow from nearby rivers into account when predicting flood risks.

For other towns, the re-mapping is a bonus. Much of the town of Wiggins was in the floodplain under the old map, but now it’s considered a low-risk area. Trustee JoAnne Rohn-Cook said she’s delighted by the new map.

“Since the last survey was done, a dike was built west of the town, so I think that helped,” she said.

From The Brush News-Tribune:

For more information about updates to local FEMA floodplain maps, go to, call the Morgan County Planning and Zoning office at 970-542-3526, or visit the following sites:

Wiggins – (click on the link at the bottom left of the homepage).

Brush – (click on the “floodplain updates” link).

Morgan County – (click on the links under “Important Public Announcements”).

Colorado Corn seeking applications for new ‘Farm Stewardship’ award

Sweet corn near Olathe, CO photo via The Nature Conservancy.
Sweet corn near Olathe, CO photo via The Nature Conservancy.

Here’s the release from Colorado Corn:

Many Colorado farmers are implementing some of the latest-and-greatest production methods, aimed at improving efficiency on their farms, protecting our natural resources, and enhancing air and water quality.

And now Colorado Corn wants to honor the producers taking these efforts to new heights.

The organization is seeking applications for its first ever Colorado Farm Stewardship Award.

“It will no doubt be a difficult task to select just one winner, when we know so many of our Colorado farmers are putting extensive time and energy into being excellent stewards of our resources, while also producing our food, fuel and fiber,” said Mark Sponsler, executive director for Colorado Corn. “But while it won’t be easy, we couldn’t be more excited about this new stewardship program. We feel this award will provide a platform for many growers to share their great stories – shining a light on the numerous, forward-thinking, best-management practices taking place on Colorado’s farms.”

The Colorado Farm Stewardship Award winner is expected to be selected by a committee comprised of board member representatives from the Colorado Corn Administrative Committee (CCAC) and Colorado Corn Growers Association (CCGA), as well as other experts in agriculture, conservation and sustainability.

The announcement of the winner will be made during the Colorado Corn Annual Banquet in Yuma on Dec. 7.

In addition to the awards banquet recognition, the winner will be recognized in Colorado Corn’s communications and outreach efforts, and will also receive the organization’s nomination for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Good Steward Recognition – an honor that includes a $10,000 cash award for the winner, among other prizes.

Applicants must be Colorado Corn Growers Association members in good standing, implement conservation-tillage methods, and demonstrate practices related to soil, water or air stewardship.

Applications are due Nov. 18. The application can be found here.

If you have any questions, you can contact Melissa Ralston at, Eric Brown at, or call our office at (970) 351-8201.