More education coverage here.
Here are Henry Reges’ notes from yesterday’s webinar.
The Prowers County commissioners hope to overturn the State Engineer’s decision on seep ditch rightsAugust 25, 2010
From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
“We firmly believe that the state engineer and division engineer need to immediately cease curtailment of our local farmers’ seep water rights, restore the rights (and seep ponds) to the level that they were prior to the calls, and provide written assurance that such endeavors will not be pursued against them,” the letter states.
Seep ditch rights are intercepted return flows from other irrigation ditches, which were claimed after the senior water rights were established. Many have been used for more than a century.
Water Division 2 Engineer Steve Witte said the state wants to enforce the seep ditch rights to bring them into the priority system, which allows use of water when it is available based on when it was first claimed. By making the seep rights accountable to the river call, most would seldom be in priority.
More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.
From the Englewood Herald (Tom Munds):
Dennis Stowe, plant manage, came to the Aug. 16 council meeting to talk about the awards, one from the American Council of Engineering Companies and one from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. “It is the first time we have received these two awards and they are not just recognizing the work of our plant or the plant personnel,” Stowe said. “Rather, these awards recognize the efforts and work of a huge number of people including design engineers, construction crews, our city councils as well as all the people at the plant. It just happened our plant got to accept the awards but they really belong to everyone who worked on these projects…
The plant received one of the eight American Council of Engineering Companies Grand Awards presented this year. The award recognized the engineering and innovation that went into the recently-completed $114 million upgrade and expansion the Littleton/Englewood Wastewater Treatment Plant…
The Littleton/Englewood plant received the award for the eight-year project that expanded the capacity from 36 million gallons per day to 50 million gallons per day which is expected to meet demands for the next two decades. The project also repaired and improved the processes and systems at the plant plus installed new treatment processes to meet federal and state guidelines…
Stowe also told the council about the national research technology the plant received from the National Association of Clear Water Agencies. He said the award recognized the development of an innovative system that enabled the facility to meet the state requirement to remove nitrate before putting the water back into the South Platte River. “A plant employee came up with the concept and the contractor initially didn’t want to use it because of concern it wouldn’t work efficiently,” Stowe said. “But they eventually used the system and it worked so well and so impressed the manufacturer that they patented it and have made it a part of their system.”
More wastewater coverage here.
From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):
Reclamation experts with the federal agency’s regional office say a Superfund designation could be the best way to get the money needed for a comprehensive cleanup, but some local officials aren’t sure they want the environmental stigma of a Superfund site in their backyard — or a massive industrial water treatment facility and a major service road in the Peru Creek backcountry, which has been the focus of long-term open space preservation efforts…
But focusing resources through the Superfund program could be the best, and maybe the only option to do some sort of meaningful remediation in the tainted basin, especially as some of the latest studies show continued degradation of water quality. “In certain months, the peak concentrations for metals have been increasing … They’re creeping up and we don’t know why,” said U.S. Geological Survey researcher Andrew Todd. “Right now, it’s just looking at dots on a plot,” he said…
Most of the metals pollution in the Snake comes from Peru Creek, both from abandoned mines in the basin, as well as from natural sources, as water trickles over highly mineralized rocks. Concentrations are so high that Peru Creek is biologically barren, with no fish or aquatic insects in the tainted water. Even several miles downstream at Keystone, the concentrations of metals exceed state and federal limits set to protect aquatic life. The pollution in Peru Creek is so intense that there’s probably little chance of establishing a self-sustaining fishery directly in that tributary. Even with a cleanup at the Pennsylvania Mine, many other sources of pollution, including natural ones, remain. “I think even with a cleanup, you’d have a biologically dead situation up there,” said Steve Swanson, head of the Blue River Watershed Group…
But at least some of the experts are convinced that they could design and build a functional treatment system that would reduce metals loading downstream, with the ultimate goal of establishing some sort of self-sustaining fishery in the reach from Keystone downstream to Dillon Reservoir.
From the Brush News-Tribune (Jesse Chaney):
Most Brush residents will likely soon face a wastewater fee increase of about $10.80 per month, and those who use large amounts of water could be paying even more. During the Brush City Council’s work session Monday evening, Brush Finance Officer Joanne Gosselink proposed that the council raise the city’s base wastewater rate from $4.20 to $5 and the price per ET unit from $27 to $35. An ET unit is equal to 20,000 gallons per quarter of water used. Gosselink said the increase would help the city pay for construction of a new wastewater facility, which would replace the city’s 45-year-old plant. “Barring anything unforeseen happening, we feel that $10.80 will keep us from having to raise a huge amount again,” she said.
To pay for the plant, Gosselink said, city officials plan to borrow $10 million from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority. The agency has offered the city a 20-year loan at 2.5 percent interest, she said. The city will need to make its first semi-annual payment of roughly $319,000 on Feb. 1, 2011, she said. If the council were to implement the new fees on Oct. 1, the city would collect about 42 percent of the amount needed for the first bill by the date it is due, she said. “We need to start building up the reserve for that first payment as soon as possible,” she said…
Brush Administrator Monty Torres said the city has completed the engineering and final design work on the new wastewater plant, which will help the city prepare for the implementation of more stringent requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency. Construction on the new plant is slated for mid November, Gosselink said.
More wastewater coverage here.
Colorado water watchers are interested in Governor Ritter’s nominees because the Colorado Supreme Court is the court of appeals for cases from water court. Here’s a report from Patrick Malone writing in The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:
They are Colorado Deputy Attorney General Monica Marquez of Denver, District Judge David Prince of Colorado Springs and Colorado Appeals Court Judge Robert Russel of Denver.
Marquez is the deputy attorney general in charge of the state services section. She was hired by the attorney general’s office in 2002. Marquez graduated from Yale Law School, served as a clerk for 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Ebel and U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor in Massachusetts. She practiced law as an associate in the firm of Holme Roberts and Owen. Marquez is past president of the Colorado Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Bar Association and a board member of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. Her father, former Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Jose D.L. Marquez, was the first person of Hispanic descent to serve on that bench.
Prince was appointed to Colorado’s 4th Judicial District as a judge in April 2006. Before that, he was a commercial litigator with the firm of Holland & Hart. He practiced primarily fiduciary, finance, construction, business, real estate and intellectual property law. He graduated from the University of Utah Law School.
Russel attended law school at the University of Colorado. Before being appointed to the Colorado Court of Appeals, he worked at the Colorado Attorney General’s office and worked as chief of the appellate division of the U.S. Attorney’s office. During the late 1970s and through much of the 1980s, he taught music and English at Kent Denver. His undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado is in music.