@POTUS threatens veto if #PFAS pollution included in defense bill: “It’s shameful” — Tom Udall

PFAS contamination in the U.S. via ewg.org

From The Albuquerque Journal (Scott Turner):

President Donald Trump isn’t happy with Congress’ plan to provide aid to farmers affected by contamination from fire suppression foam at military bases nationwide, and he’s threatening to veto the defense spending bill over it and other issues.

The Trump administration does not believe the Department of Defense alone should be held responsible for the cleanup of the contamination at places like Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis and Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo.

“At potentially great cost and significant impact on DOD’s mission, the legislation singles out DOD, only one contributor to this national issue,” the White House states in a letter Tuesday addressing problems it has with the House version of the National Defense Appropriation Act of 2020. The White House didn’t specify who else should be forced to pay for the cleanup.

At least one local lawmaker is outraged by the president’s threat.

“It’s shameful,” U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said of the objection to the contamination provision. The House is expecting to vote on the legislation this week. The Senate passed its version of the bill two weeks ago…

During a press call hosted by the Environmental Working Group, New Mexico’s senior senator questioned who else could be responsible for the polyfluoroalkyl perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination of the groundwater near bases such as Cannon and Holloman other than the DOD or the Air Force.

“The administration’s position is that the DOD and the Air Force are only a small part of the problem,” Udall said. He said that while the fire suppression foam has been used by other sources that may have exposed parts of the country to smaller amounts of PFAS, the exposure is “far more concentrated around Air Force bases.”

The Senate version of the defense spending bill would authorize the Air Force to construct an infiltration system for dairy farmers, such as Art Schaap, whose dairy operation has been affected by the contamination at Cannon Air Force Base. It would authorize the purchase of land impacted by the contamination.

“One issue is the big plume,” Udall said. He said the Air Force would be required to install a pump-and-treat system.

“The plume is not only headed for dairy farms, but other homes in the area,” the senator said of the Cannon contamination.

Feds award $29 million in water conservation grants; one Colorado agency among the winners — @WaterEdCO #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Grand Diversion via the Palisade Irrigation District.

From Water Education Colorado (Jerd Smith):

The federal government awarded 13 Western states $29 million in cash this month, with a directive to go out and save more water and energy.

Just one of the 45 grants handed out by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation through its WaterSMART program went to a Colorado entity. The Grand Junction-based Grand Valley Water Users Association was awarded $178,884 to finish work improving a set of historical diversion structures that include the Roller Dam on the Colorado River, west of Glenwood Springs.

The dam, which began operating in 1915, is hard to miss driving along on I-70 as the highway parallels the Colorado River. The money will be used to modernize the measuring and monitoring systems on the dam and canal on a critical section of the river, which includes the 15-Mile Reach, where a number of endangered fish species have important habitat.

Mark Harris, general manager of the Grand Valley Water Users Association, attributes the win to his agency’s partnership with other West Slope irrigation districts, the Glenwood Springs-based Colorado River Water Conservation District, and the Colorado River Basin Roundtable. He said the partnership’s ability to contribute matching funds to the federal project was another key factor in the win.

This year, the GVWUA and its partners provided $220,000 in matching funds to win the WaterSMART grant.

“It’s not that there is anything special about us,” Harris said. “It’s that the stars at this particular time are in alignment.”

An earlier 2017 grant to the GVWUA provided $300,000 in federal dollars. The water users subsequently raised $500,000 in matching funds. All told, Harris said the improvements to the GVWUA infrastructure in recent years have reduced diversions from the Colorado River by 60,000 acre-feet. That’s enough water to serve roughly 120,000 urban households for one year.

The latest project, the second phase, will allow water users to reduce their diversions from the Colorado by an additional 4,000 acre-feet, thanks to improvements that allow more monitoring of the timing and amounts of diversions.

California and Utah were the big winners in the WaterSMART program this year. California was awarded $9.54 million for 12 projects, while Utah secured $5.4 million for 10 projects.

Colorado was second from dead last, with New Mexico coming in last, winning just one grant worth $150,000.

Josh German and Avra Morgan, program coordinators for the WaterSMART program, said the grant process is competitive and that Colorado water agencies, historically, have not demonstrated serious interest in the program.

This year 111 applications were submitted, and 45 were funded, German said. Grants are awarded using criteria that include points for the amount of water that can be saved, the potential to reduce conflict among water users, and use of hydropower, among other things.

Conserving water has been and continues to be one of the main focal points of the program,” German said.

In place since 2004, when it was part of a grant making program called Water 2025, the WaterSMART program also offers grants to help pay for water marketing and new scientific tools that support better water management.

Jerd Smith is editor of Fresh Water News. She can be reached at 720-398-6474, via email at jerd@wateredco.org or @jerd_smith.

#Runoff news: #ClearCreek tubing and swimming ban lifted, #Boulder #TubeToWorkDay now scheduled for July 19, 2019

From The Denver Post (Kirk Mitchell):

Belly boaters, swimmers, inner-tubers and body surfers take note: You can now do your thing on Clear Creek in Jefferson County.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has removed its ban on water activities that had been considered too dangerous on July 1 because of fast water flows.

The ban – which had extended from State Highway 119 to Golden – has been lifted for swimmers and those using all single-chambered air inflated devices including belly boats, inner tubes and rafts, said a sheriff’s office news release Friday.

From Westword (Michael Roberts):

Today, July 12, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office ended all restrictions for activities on Clear Creek, including limits put in place through Golden circa July 1. Likewise, the Boulder Police Department has removed a tubing ban on Boulder Creek, which resulted in the postponement of the city’s annual Tube to Work Day…

By the way, Boulder’s Tube to Work Day is now scheduled to get underway at 8 a.m. on Friday, July 19. Life jackets and wetsuits are strongly recommended to be worn beneath business attire, and mandatory items include helmets, closed-toe footwear and waivers.

From The Aspen Times (Jason Auslander):

With the North Star Nature Preserve flooded and space dwindling under bridges, county open space officials are asking boaters to put in at the popular float spot’s midway point until further notice.

“We’re encouraging everybody across the board … to put in at Southgate,” Pryce Hadley, ranger supervisor for the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program, said Monday. “The water is high for July and people need to be careful.”


The lack of Front Range diversions adds about 550 cubic feet per second to the Roaring Fork River, they said. That water began flowing down the Roaring Fork on Thursday evening, and the river peaked at just over 1,000 cfs July 6, Hadley said. It was running at 779 cfs Monday morning, he said…

“That’s still well above the 300 cfs we had midday on July 4,” Hadley said.

And that means boaters who begin at the normal North Star put-in at Wildwood are not going to be able to make it under a pedestrian bridge and a car bridge at McFarland Gulch, he said. While some stand-up paddlers might be able to make it under the bridges lying on their bellies face down, most likely cannot, Hadley said.

Portage is not possible either, he said, because the bridges and surrounding land are on private property, he said.

Commission signs #ColoradoRiver binational water scarcity contingency plan report #COriver #aridification

Here’s the release from the International Boundary and Water Commission United States and Mexico United States Section (Lori Kuczmanski):

On July 11 in San Diego, California, the International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico, signed a report with the implementing details of the Colorado River Binational Water Scarcity Contingency Plan. The agreement describes the actions the United States and Mexico will take to help protect the elevation of Lake Mead, an important Colorado River reservoir for both countries. In September 2017, the two countries agreed to the general terms of the Binational Water Scarcity Contingency Plan when the Commission signed Minute No. 323, “Extension of Cooperative Measures and Adoption of a Binational Water Scarcity Contingency Plan in the Colorado River Basin.” The latest report provides additional detail to ensure parity in how the plan will be implemented in both nations. The terms are based on the U.S. Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan.

The “Joint Report of the Principal Engineers with the Implementing Details of the Binational Water Scarcity Contingency Plan in the Colorado River Basin,” signed by U.S. Principal Engineer Daniel Avila and Mexican Principal Engineer Luis Antonio Rascon Mendoza, was immediately approved by the Commissioners.

“With this agreement, the Commission is once again taking important action to further U.S.-Mexico cooperation to protect our nations’ shared water resources for years to come,” said U.S. Commissioner Jayne Harkins.

In accordance with Minute 323 and the Joint Report, the United States and Mexico will conserve water during drought conditions with the understanding they could get the water back when reservoirs recover. The volumes saved under the Binational Water Scarcity Contingency Plan are in addition to reductions that would take effect in both countries when Lake Mead is projected to drop to elevation 1075 feet or below, as described in Minute 323.

@USBR selects winners of competition to develop solutions for removing sediment from reservoirs

Paonia Reservoir was at 7 percent full at the end of September. Water year 2018 ranked as the third driest in the Colorado River Basin. Photo credit: Heather Sackett/Aspen Journalism

Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

Reclamation launched a prize competition seeking new and improved techniques for the removal of sediment and transport of that sediment in a cost-effective manner. Of the 40 potential solutions received, six winners will share $75,000. Sedimentation is a significant problem for aging reservoirs as it reduces the amount of water that can be stored. It also impacts the dam outlets, water quality, recreation and downstream habitat.

“While sediment will never go away, we can seek to minimize its impact and allow the reservoirs to store water for agriculture and cities and minimize the risk of flooding,” said competition co-lead Jennifer Bountry. “The solutions have the potential to be cost-effective while preserving and sustaining the objectives of the reservoir.”

The prize competition sought ideas for the collection of sediment from the reservoir bottom, moving sediment from the collection site to the disposal site and delivering sediments to the downstream channel. Four submissions will each receive $16,250, while two submissions will each receive $5,000.

Two of the four top placing solutions were submitted by Baha Abulnaga with Mazdak International, Inc., of Sumas, Washington, and his proposed transport methods for sediments. His first solution proposed a hydraulic capsule pipeline for topset sediments. His second solution proposed transporting cohesive sediment as a sediment log using a pressurized pipeline. Abulnaga will receive a total prize of $32,500 for his two solutions.

The other top placing solutions receiving $16,250 each provided sediment collection options. Lawrence Kearns of Chicago, Illinois, proposed a Sediment Snake submersible robot for collecting reservoir sediments, and David Orlebeke of Ridgecrest, California, proposed the use of flexible augers.

The remaining ideas selected to receive $5,000 prizes are:

  • Eric Hinterman of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for his collection solution – CryoDredger utilizing inert liquid nitrogen. Hinterman collaborated with Barret Schlegelmilch, Phil Ebben, and Steve Link on the development of his solution.
  • Team of Pradeep Nalabalapu of Round Rock Texas, and Olivier Loidi of Toulouse, Midi-Pyrenees for their solution to collect reservoir sediments using adapted electro-coagulation methods.
  • “We are now planning for the next stage of the prize competition and determining how best to work with the winning solutions to conduct more testing to verify or enhance their practical application for collecting or transporting reservoir sediment,” said competition co-lead Tim Randle.

    The Bureau of Reclamation partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Natural Resource Conservation Service and American Rivers on various aspects of this prize competition.

    To learn more about this prize competition and other competitions Reclamation has hosted, please visit https://www.usbr.gov/research/challenges/index.html.