Greeley has drafted an updated Water Conservation Plan and would like your feedback

October 16, 2014


Burt Knight Selected as Greeley’s New Director of Water & Sewer

August 25, 2014
Greeley Irrigation Ditch No. 3 construction via Greeley Water

Greeley Irrigation Ditch No. 3 construction via Greeley Water

Here’s the release from Greeley Water & Sewer:

Greeley City Manager Roy Otto is pleased to announce the selection of Burt Knight as Greeley’s new Director of Water & Sewer effective August 18, 2014. When announcing Mr. Knight’s selection for the position, Mr. Otto stated, “Burt has performed duties as Interim Director with distinction. After reviewing the options before me with many trusted advisors, I believe the best choice for this important responsibility, at this critical time for our city and the Water/Sewer Department, is a promotion of our operations deputy.”

The Director of Water & Sewer, which reports to the City Manager, will be responsible for implementation of the long-term and comprehensive plan that includes strengthening and maintaining Greeley’s water system infrastructure, continuing water supply acquisition, expanding water storage, and increasing water conservation efforts.

Knight earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University and has over 30 years of municipal engineering and management experience. Mr. Knight began employment as the City of Greeley’s Chief Water Engineer in 2011 and was promoted to Deputy Director of Operations in 2013. Prior to his employment with Greeley, Mr. Knight served as city/county engineer for the City and County of Broomfield.

When asked what attracted him to this position, Mr. Knight stated, “I believe in Greeley’s vision of the future and how the organization is focused on achieving community excellence. It is also a pleasure working with the Greeley staff because they are all committed to serving our citizens. I am honored by Mr. Otto’s, City Council’s and the incredible members of the Water and Sewer Board’s confidence in me, I will not let them down.”

More South Platte River Basin coverage here.


Greeley gets USACE permit for pipeline

July 23, 2014

pipeline

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan):

After a 7-year process and multiple studies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a permit that would allow Greeley to build a 6-mile section of pipeline known as the Northern Segment.

The city plans to run the pipeline under the Poudre River and through open fields on private property south of the river.

Greeley officials plan to work with affected property owners during the coming months to get easements for the pipeline, said Eric Reckentine, deputy director of water resources for Greeley Water and Sewer.

Construction is expected to begin in late fall and last about a year and a half. The segment is expected to cost about $25 million.

But the fight over the pipeline is not over and could end up in court.

Rose Brinks, who lives off Overland Trail near the river and Lions Park, stated in an email to the Coloradoan that she will not allow her family’s historic farm to be “torn up for such a pipeline.”

Greeley could use eminent domain to get the rights of way it needs to build the project.

“We would prefer to negotiate with property owners,” Reckentine said.

Brinks and other affected property owners have contended for years that the project should be built along another route, such as under Larimer County Road 54G.

But Greeley officials say their preferred route would disrupt fewer properties and would not require the removal of homes. It also would not force monthslong construction closures on LaPorte’s main street.

As part of the process of getting the permit, Greeley had to do extensive studies on the environmental impact of the project and its potential effects on historic sites, such as a section of the old Greeley, Salt Lake and Pacific Railroad line on Brinks’ property.

Greeley plans to bore underground to get the pipeline through sensitive areas, Reckentine said…

The 30-mile pipeline project would run from Greeley’s water treatment plant near Bellvue to Gold Hill Reservoir west of the city. Two-thirds of the pipeline is complete and operating. The segment that runs through Fort Collins ends at Shields Street.

From The Greeley Tribune (Sherrie Peif):

After seven years of fights and headaches, Greeley officials can finally celebrate. The Army Corps of Engineers gave approval for the final 6-mile segment of the Bellvue Pipeline from the Fort Collins/LaPorte/Bellvue area.

The final addition, which runs from Shields Street in Fort Collins to the Bellvue Treatment Plant at the mouth of the Poudre Canyon, will complete the $80 million, 30-mile pipeline. It will have the capacity to deliver an additional 50 million gallons of water per day to Greeley, enough to satisfy the projected need of Greeley’s water customers for the next 50 years.

The city hit roadblocks every direction it turned with landowners worried about the impact on wildlife and historical structures, as well as noise and fumes and the other effects of construction.

Then, concern over the Preble jumping mouse habitat got in the way. Greeley was required to study the mouse habitat and any impacts under the State and National Historic Preservation Acts before the permit verification was issued.

There are still four property owners trying to hold up the process, said Eric Reckentine, deputy director of water resources for Greeley, but the city has the go-ahead for construction, which is expected to begin in the fall.

It will run under the originally proposed 28 different properties. The city could take any remaining land through eminent domain laws if it needs to.

“We’re still working through some issues with those landowners,” Reckentine said.

He did not know how much the city has spent in legal fees on the project.

Officials say the route is the least destructive. An alternative would have traveled under Main Street in LaPorte and under that town’s two schools. When completed, this will be only the second extension of water pipeline the city has done in 100 years.

The city, which since the 1950s has had two existing 27-inch pipelines through the town, has two-thirds of the 60-inch line built and some portions already in operation.

The line parallels about 65 percent of the city’s existing lines, but it will move through a portion of historically registered property along Overland Trail at the southern edge of LaPorte. Retired water director Jon Monson said in 2011 that the structures would be completely avoided by tunneling beneath them, roughly 18-20 feet for about 1,700 feet.

The city still needs some additional permits to increase the water capacity, but Reckentine said he was confident they would not be a problem.

“This is an important project for Greeley,” Reckentine said. “We are just glad we can begin construction.”

More infrastructure coverage here.


Greeley takes second place in nationwide water conservation challenge

May 18, 2014

Jon Monson retires from @GreeleyWater

April 7, 2014
Greeley Irrigation Ditch No. 3 construction via Greeley Water

Greeley Irrigation Ditch No. 3 construction via Greeley Water

From The Greeley Tribune (Analisa Romano):

When Jon Monson was hired by the city of Greeley to act as director of the Water and Sewer Department 18 years ago, he was all arms in the air and enthusiasm for the job.

“You’re on the side of angels,” Monson told The Tribune in an April 29, 1996, interview — just 10 days into the job. “You’re one of the good guys protecting the environment … and providing water that’s necessary for life. That’s exciting.”

On Thursday — just three days into retirement — not much had changed.

“I would like to stay involved in water,” Monson said of his plans as a retiree. “People respect the transformative power of water to create the environment we want to create.”

Monson’s passion for the job came up a number of times among coworkers and friends at Monson’s last day this week as something they will remember him by and miss.

Monson will be missed for his quotes from famous people like Benjamin Franklin and Plato, his “data-dense” graphics, his Socratic style and his Christmas bread, said Harold Evans, chairman of the Greeley Water Board, at Monson’s retirement party Monday.

But more importantly, Monson will be missed for his leadership.

“Things work well and are delivered in a cost-effective manner, plus Greeley is positioned well for the future with its critical infrastructure of water and wastewater,” Evans said. “That’s the definition of leadership.”

In his time with the city, Monson set the tone for the development of Greeley’s water system with the 2003 Water Master Plan, helped rebuild both the Bellvue and Boyd Lake water treatment plants, was recognized by the state for the city’s water conservation program, expanded the Bellvue pipeline to near completion, acquired at least 10,000 more acre-feet of water in anticipation of population growth, oversaw a great deal of improvements on the sewer system and created more local water storage, such as at the Poudre Ponds.

Through it all, Monson has never faltered in saying he loves his job, said Charlotte Hansen, his wife.

“To be able to love your work, that is a true gift in life. Well, this man loves his work. Believe me,” Hansen said at Monson’s retirement party.

There were challenges through the years, the worst of which was the painstakingly long process of environmental permitting for projects like the Bellvue pipeline or water storage, Monson said. Although even those things he said he understood as necessary components of the job.

Greeley Mayor Tom Norton said Monson steered the city particularly well through major upgrades to Greeley’s wastewater treatment plant, which has been recognized by the EPA for sustainability and energy efficiency.

“Jon led the way to making the wastewater facilities as important as water facilities, and our stewardship for clean water downriver as well as clean water upriver,” Norton said. “I think that’s very, very important.”

Monson also was honored this week by the Farr family, who said W.D. Farr — a Greeley leader who left a number of legacies, including planning for water — was particularly fond of him.

“It was such a wonderful gift that W.D. gave me in the last decade of his life, to give some inkling, some fraction of what he knew about water,” Monson said Thursday. “The more I think about it, it was a gift from me to him to give him the opportunity to share what he knew. And I hope to do that, to find some way of passing that on.”

During retirement, Monson said he hopes to work for Engineers Without Borders and work on his fly-fishing skills. In the near future, Monson will be sailing, traveling to Europe to visit his wife’s family and track down his own ancestors and meet his daughter in Nepal as she and her husband motorcycle through South Asia.

Before Greeley, Monson worked in south Florida as a utility director. Before that, he lived in Boulder and moved around the South as a water engineer.

“Greeley has been really good to me,” Monson said Thursday with a nostalgic smile. “It was a good place to spend half my career.”

More Greeley coverage here.


Greeley: ‘One of the alternatives we need to take a serious look at is to use less’ — Jon Monson

February 21, 2014

watersprinkler

From The Greeley Tribune (Analisa Romano):

Greeley’s water supply will run out in about 30 years if we continue to consume water the way we do now, city officials say. By 2050, they say, half of the demand for water in Greeley will be to irrigate outdoor lawns That estimate has prompted Greeley officials to dig for more solutions to water conservation this year, which could include new landscaping and development policies.

Everything is still in its early stages, but the city’s water experts this spring will hold a set of public meetings to spread awareness about Greeley’s water use and what could be done to curb it, said Jon Monson, Greeley’s water and sewer director.

Greeley has been moved to action now but the city is not alone in facing limited water resources, a statewide issue. In fact, Greeley has done well purchasing water rights and creating the infrastructure to store it for future use, Monson said.

And the city has more recently been recognized for encouraging residents to be more efficient with their water through the city’s showerhead exchange program, lawn watering schedule and water budget included on water bills.

But conservation has been less of a focal point, Monson said.

“One of the alternatives we need to take a serious look at is to use less,” he said, by reducing demand.

For example, the amount of water needed to irrigate a front lawn is reduced by using native plants instead of buffalo grass.

Monson and Brad Mueller, Greeley’s director of community development, discussed the city’s water situation and possible solutions with the city council last month.

Mueller said the city is taking a slow approach with a number of public meetings before moving forward with any decisions or even a direction on how to lower water use.

“We don’t want people to just go into the reaction of saying we need to be a desert, or let’s just make sure we have all of the water we could possibly buy, because both of those extremes are probably not consistent with Greeley’s values or its history,” Mueller said. “Greeley is probably not going to be a desert hole in the middle of that donut” of agricultural land, he said.

At a council work session in January, Greeley city planner John Barnett presented some possibilities for landscaping that include a mixture of trees and native and non-native plants.

Greeley has a semi-arid environment, meaning rain dries up quickly. With shrubs and ground cover that require low water use and trees that require medium water use, Barnett projected the city could cut back on water use by about 30 percent.

Mueller said the city this fall will take questions to the public that include whether the mix and match option is a good one. Greeley residents will also have a chance to say how much water they think should be used for their lawns and other purposes, what the city should do differently to conserve water, what Greeley’s landscape should look like, and, if there are any new requirements that come of this process, how they should be applied to existing properties. There is no set schedule yet for when those public meetings will be, but Mueller said the city is aiming for late March or April. Monson said they hope to get input from builders, developers, homeowners and more before going back before the city council to present their findings.

“To do something different, it’s going to take a little more effort, and it could be more expense, but we could save quite a bit of water doing it,” Monson said. “There’s always trade-offs.”

More conservation coverage here.


The latest newsletter from the Greeley Water is hot off the presses

February 19, 2014

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