From KRDO.com (Rana Novini):
Colorado Springs Utilities says the April ruling is unfortunate and they have always met water quality standards. They joined the City of Colorado Springs, and the State of Colorado in filing an appeal against that ruling.
On Friday, Pueblo County District Attorney Bill Thiebaut stood near the Fountain Creek Flood Control marker in Pueblo and vowed he would not stop fighting against SDS. He held up two jars of water: one he said was from Lake Pueblo, the other from Fountain Creek. “You can see (the latter jar) is rather muddy and contaminated as compared to the Lake Pueblo water,” Thiebaut said. He attributes the pollution to Colorado Springs’ development projects, saying the runoff ends up in Fountain Creek. He says that Colorado Springs takes the clean water in Pueblo Reservoir and returns used, dirty water to Fountain Creek.
Mark Pifher of Colorado Springs Utilities works directly with water quality regarding SDS. He tells KRDO NewsChannel 13 that the pollution in Fountain Creek has nothing to do with SDS. “At this point in time, Southern Delivery is not yet operational. So that’s the ambient condition, if you will, of Fountain Creek,” Pifher said.
In a written statement from the Tenth Judicial District, Thiebaut claims the pollution in Fountain Creek has caused illness to Pueblo County residents. But Pifher says Utilities has never been made aware of any illnesses.
From The Pueblo Chieftain (John Norton):
In April, District Judge Victor Reyes ruled on a suit filed by Thiebaut and threw out a state water quality permit the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission gave the project.
Reyes ruled that the commission ignored potential impacts of growth on Fountain Creek water quality and failed to follow its own procedures in upholding a 2010 permit under section 401 of the Clean Water Act.
Friday afternoon, Thiebaut called on the state and Colorado Springs to give up the appeal. He held up jars of clear Pueblo Reservoir water and cloudy water from Fountain Creek.
Standing near the flood control marker across from the El Centro del Quinto Sol community center, he said, “Now, Colorado Springs wants to take this pristine (lake) water, use it in Colorado Springs and then discharge more of its used wastewater and stormwater into Fountain Creek.
From the Colorado Springs Independent:
…a new study from Summit Economics LLC says Colorado Springs residents pay less ($4.63 per capita annually) than those of every other Front Range city. The average is $52.11. To reach that average, El Paso County would have to impose a half-percent sales tax (50 cents on a $100 purchase), a property tax of 5.8 mills ($93 on the tax bill of a $200,000 house) or a $5.35 per month fee per home. Any of those taxing methods would yield the roughly $36 million a year needed to tackle a $600 million backlog for the county, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Fountain and Monument, the study says.
And the issue lies here, not downstream in Pueblo County, which accounts for only 1 percent of the region’s stormwater infrastructure needs, the study found.
The Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District, which covers portions of Pueblo and El Paso Counties, funded the study, and its manager Larry Small says the board is eying a November 2013 election if a tax increase is sought.
From the Colorado Springs Gazette (Daniel Chaćon):
Bach said his administration inherited “upwards of a billion” dollars in unfunded capital needs, including stormwater, and that the city needed to “come to grips” with the problem. “The day of reckoning is in front of us,” Bach said.
The lack of stormwater funding has other consequences that City Attorney Chris Melcher has said obligates Utilities, a billion-dollar-plus enterprise of the city. Stormwater is a crucial element of the 62-mile Southern Delivery System water pipeline that Utilities is building between Colorado Springs and Pueblo…
The Board of Pueblo County Commissioners, which issued the so-called 1041 permit for SDS, is now applying pressure on the city, too. The board sent Bach and the council a letter May 3, saying it was “encouraged” by reports that the city was exploring ways to fund stormwater but that it needed to act fast…
“A key component was the Stormwater Enterprise,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, in December 2009, only a few months after it obtained its SDS permits, Colorado Springs Council voted to abolish its Stormwater Enterprise fees.”
SDS spokeswoman Janet Rummel said the city’s stormwater issue is much broader than SDS. “Not only is utilities infrastructure impacted by stormwater run-off, but City and County roads and bridges are also affected for example,” she said in an email.
More coverage from the Colorado Springs Independent (Pam Zubeck):
After the enterprise was dismantled in 2009, the Springs City Council assured Pueblo County that a replacement funding source would be developed, Pueblo County commissioners note, but more than 2.5 years later, no such funding has been secured.
Pueblo County issued a construction permit for SDS, and that permit could be rescinded if Colorado Springs doesn’t live up to its promises.
County President Pro Tem Jan Martin wrote a letter to Pueblo County dated May 10, two days after Bach talked of a stormwater-related “day of reckoning” awaiting the Springs. In it, Martin says, “Protecting our watershed is a high priority for City Council …”
Really? Where’s the evidence? Rather, the Council is busy getting its package of road projects together to be included in an extension of a sales tax for the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority. The tax doesn’t sunset until the end of 2014, but Councilors and others are rabid to get it renewed and want it on this November’s ballot.