Blue-green algae found at Pikeview Reservoir — @CSUtilities

Cyanobacteria. By NASA – http://microbes.arc.nasa.gov/images/content/gallery/lightms/publication/unicells.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5084332

Here’s the release from Colorado Springs Utilities:

There is an increasing occurrence of toxic blue-green algae in reservoirs across the United States this year, forcing the limitation of recreational access to the bodies of water for public safety.

In a recent test at Pikeview Reservoir, a popular fishing lake in central Colorado Springs and part of our water system, the bacteria was identified.

While the reservoir is still safe for fishing, as a precautionary meaure, humans and pets are prohibited from entering the water until further notice. Anglers are directed to thoroughly clean fish and discard guts.

We have removed Pikeview as a source for drinking water until the reservoir is determined to be clear of the algae. There are no concerns about this affecting water supply for our community.

Presumptive testing has indicated levels of less than 5 mcg/L.

Sickness including nausea, vomiting, rash, irritated eyes, seizures and breathing problems could occur following exposure to the blue-green algae in the water. Anyone suspicious of exposure with onset of symptoms should contact their doctor or veterinarian. For questions regarding health impacts of exposure, contact the El Paso County Health Department or Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Warming temperatures have contributed to the growth of the bacteria.

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Liz Henderson):

The popular fishing lake that lies just south of Garden of the Gods Road tested above acceptable limits for the bacteria the news release read. The water is still safe to fish in, but humans and pets are not allowed. Anglers are asked to clean the fish thoroughly and remove guts, according to the news release.

The reservoir has been removed as a drinking water source, Utilities stated, however there are no concerns about the tainted water affecting the community.

#ColoradoSprings: Detention ponds helping to improve safety — The Colorado Springs Gazette

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Patrick Nelson):

Water left behind by severe weather in northeast Colorado Springs has some neighbors are concerned about rising water in ponding basins near their homes.

Taxpayers agreed to pay more money for improvements to the stormwater system in the Colorado Springs area and while some folks in Wolf Ranch were concerned about a detention pond filling up, the experts say it’s evidence the stormwater system is doing its job.

On the surface it’s calm, but the stormwater system below this detention pond in Wolf Ranch is moving thousands of gallons of water down stream. Seeing this normally dry basin full of water had some neighbors on edge. Even some of the wildlife came in for a closer look, but stormwater expert Richard Mulledy says the system is performing at a high level.

“You’ve got to give it an “A”,” said the Colorado Springs Stormwater Enterprise Manager. “I mean, it really took a hard hit and we didn’t see anything major.”

Just down the road near Research Parkway and Black Forest Road, work is going on to build another detention pond to help mitigate flooding during severe weather.

“Our stormwater infrastructure is enormous. we’re 195 square miles we’re actually the largest landwise city in the state,” said Mulledy.

It’s become a requirement for new neighborhoods because if there isn’t somewhere for the water to go it could cause major problems.

“If this facility wasn’t here you would’ve seen that giant flash flood come down erode the banks, flow over the top of roads, that’s when you see people’s backyards caving in. things like that,” said Mulledy.

The water in this Wolf Ranch detention pond will completely drain into Cottonwood Creek within 72-hours. Across the city, ponds like this are used to control the water flow making areas near waterways safer downstream all the way to Pueblo.

Colorado Springs with the Front Range in background. Photo credit Wikipedia.

#ColoradoSprings closes Prospect Lake in Memorial Park due to positive blue-green algae testing — Colorado Springs Gazette

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Liz Henderson):

Prospect Lake in Memorial Park has been closed indefinitely after a test found toxic blue-green algae in the water, Colorado Springs officials said Friday.

A “precautionary water sample,” taken from the lake Friday morning by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, tested positive for mycrocystin toxin, also known as blue-green algae.

The lake’s swim beach was roped off and closure signs were posted. Fishing areas remain open, but anglers are encouraged to clean the fish and remove guts. Rentals are not available, and pets are not allowed.

“Given today’s positive test for mycrocystin toxin, we have closed Prospect Lake for usage,” said Erik Rodriguez of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services in a statement. “CDPHE will continue to test weekly until the bacteria clears up.”

In the meantime, the city has banned swimming, bathing, paddleboarding, motorized and nonmotorized boats even with permits, tubing and water skiing.

Prospect Lake in Memorial Park. By Beverly & Pack – Colorado Ballon Classic 2009, Labor Day Weekend, Prospect Lake in Memorial Park in Colorado Springs, CO. Uploaded by Tomer T, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19191608

@AWRA-CO Annual Tour – Upper #ArkansasRiver Basin, August 27, 2019

Join AWRA Colorado for its annual tour on August 27th! This year’s program will focus on the Upper Arkansas River basin, where we will be learning about water use, creative partnerships, and other unique aspects of the Upper Arkansas Basin. The day will include an overview of the Homestake Project and Aurora Waters’ system along with tours of the Otero Pump Station, Homestake Arkansas River Diversion project, Rocky Mountain Fen Research Project, and the Leadville Fish Hatchery.

Cost is $65 and includes transportation and lunch. All tour proceeds benefit AWRA Colorado’s Richard Herbert Memorial Scholarship fund.

Register for the tour HERE.

Upper Arkansas River Basin tour agenda:

7:30 am — Meet at Wooly Mammoth Park & Ride, Golden
9:00 am — Alternative meeting location at Hayden Meadows Reservoir, Leadville
10:00 am — Morning Presentations and Tour of Otero Pump Station
11:00 am — Tour of the Arkansas River Diversion Project
12:00 pm –Lunch at Twin Lakes Reservoir
1:00 pm — Tour of the Rocky Mountain Fen Research Project
2:00 pm — Tour of the Leadville Fish Hatchery
3:30 pm — Drop off at Hayden Meadows Reservoir
5:15 pm — Return to Wooly Mammoth Park & Ride

Due to site access restrictions, please plan to ride with AWRA to/from the tour. Two group meeting locations are available:

Wooly Mammoth Park & Ride, Golden (7:30 am)
Hayden Meadows Reservoir, Leadville (9:00 am)

Register for the tour HERE.

Fountain Creek lawsuit update: Court grants more time for settlement talks

The Fountain Creek Watershed is located along the central front range of Colorado. It is a 927-square mile watershed that drains south into the Arkansas River at Pueblo. The watershed is bordered by the Palmer Divide to the north, Pikes Peak to the west, and a minor divide 20 miles east of Colorado Springs. Map via the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Robert Boczkiewicz):

Officials of Pueblo County and of the Lower Arkansas Valley are making significant progress to resolve a lawsuit against Colorado Springs for years of defiling Fountain Creek.

“The parties have made significant progress toward settlement,” states a July 23 report obtained by The Pueblo Chieftain.

The report was submitted to a judge in Denver of the U.S. District Court for Colorado, where the lawsuit is pending.

The Chieftain reported in December that both sides of the dispute had begun meeting to discuss a potential resolution without further litigation.

The new report and the one in December were signed by attorneys for the litigants: the county commissioners, the Lower Arkansas Water Conservancy District, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Public Health and Environment on one side, and the city of Colorado Springs on the other side…

After a trial last year, the judge overseeing the case decided in November that the Colorado Springs violated its permit that regulates discharges into the creek from the city’s storm water sewer system.

The next step would have been for another trial to determine what the city must do to remedy the violations.

The commissioners, the water conservancy district, plus the federal and state environmental agencies stated in December they would ask a judge to order Colorado Springs to improve its storm water system, impose monetary penalties “and other appropriate remedies” if both sides could not agree on how to resolve the dispute.

In last week’s report, all sides stated they “have been meeting regularly and intensively to reach settlement.”

They asked the judge to put the case on hold in order to give them at least until Nov. 22 “to focus on settlement.”

Senior Judge John L. Kane granted the request.

#PFAS: Widefield aquifer cleanup update

Widefield aquifer via the Colorado Water Institute.

From Colorado Public Radio (Dan Boyce):

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a health advisory in 2016 that warned of the connection between PFAS and certain types of cancer.

After the advisory and the discovery of widespread groundwater and soil contamination near Peterson Airforce Base, the Pikes Peak Community Foundation shut down organic vegetable production at the Venetucci farm. They opted to instead raise lower-priced feedstock for horses.

It’s one example of the financial burden this region still bears from the pollution, despite the $50 million the Air Force has spent on cleanup around Peterson.

“There are 60,000 stories just like this and they’re happening at the kitchen sink in every Fountain, Widefield and Security home,” Clark said of the communities whose water was tainted by the foam.

The foundation, as well as the nearby Security Water District, have sued the Air Force over the chemicals. District general manager Roy Heald said they had to find a new source of water for their customers, a complicated process which involved the construction of a mile-long pipeline to buy water from Colorado Springs. The cost of the pipeline and the first two years of water set the district back $6 million…

In 2018, the Air Force stepped in to cover the district’s water costs until the construction of a new treatment facility was completed. The Air Force will also pay for the facility. Still, Heald said it’s unclear what the ongoing long-term costs will be for the district when it comes to the new facility. It will be needed as long as the contamination remains in the groundwater, which could essentially be forever…

As of this June, $357 million has been spent on PFAS cleanup around 22 Air Force installations nationwide. It’s a lot of money that many who live near the sites say barely touches on the full problem…

There’s disagreement even between government agencies about what concentration of PFAS is safe for humans. A division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that levels should be set seven to 10 times lower than the EPA’s health advisory.

Genna Reed, the lead PFAS researcher for the Union of Concerned Scientists, has said the Department of Defense “misrepresented the scope of this issue in order to avoid having to pay.”

The Air Force would not grant an interview for this story, but states on the PFAS website it established that “protecting human health is our priority.”

Reed said the Department of Defense has limited which PFAS chemicals it tests for in groundwater and only releases data when the results are above the higher EPA threshold.

“Community members who have been exposed to this chemical and were not told of its release are being the ones left with the burden of paying for this contamination and paying to find out how much is in their water and also to find out how much is in their blood,” Reed said.

Rosenbaum said the full blood panel to test for PFAS chemicals costs about $700 — out of reach for many living near Peterson AFB.

Rosenbaum has organized a local clean water coalition to go after grants to test residents’ blood and water. She’s frustrated they have to do that work themselves.

“There’s absolutely no reason for our communities to go into debt over another water contamination that we didn’t cause,” she said.

@USBR to Host Ruedi Reservoir Water Operations Public Meeting

Fryingpan River downstream of Ruedi Reservoir. Photo credit Greg Hobbs

Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Tyler Johnson):

The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled the annual public meeting to discuss the Ruedi Reservoir Water Operations for the 2019 water year.

The meeting will be held on August 7, 2019, from 6:30-8:00 pm at the following location:

Roaring Fork Conservancy River Center
22800 Two Rivers Road
Basalt, CO 81621

The meeting will provide an overview of Ruedi Reservoir’s 2019 projected operations for late summer and early fall, which are key tourist seasons in Basalt. Also, representatives of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will give a presentation on the upcoming implementation of the Ute Water Conservancy District lease of Ruedi Reservoir water to the Board for instream flow use in the 15-Mile Reach of the Colorado River. The meeting will include a public question and answer session.

For more information, please contact Tim Miller, Hydrologist, Eastern Colorado Area Office, by phone or e-mail: (970) 461-5494, or tmiller@usbr.gov.