Granby dials back fluoride dosing in response to new federal guidelines

Calcium fluoride
Calcium fluoride

From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Lance Maggart):

The PHS has reduced the optimum recommended amount of fluoride in municipal water systems to a maximum of 0.7 milligrams per liter. The previous recommended range, from 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams, was changed this year for the first time since 1962.

Fluoride levels in Granby’s water supply vary depending on whether the water comes from the North Service Area or the South Service Area, two separate water systems providing public water service to community residents. Historically the fluoride levels in the two different service areas have been 1.1 milligrams per liter.

Following the new recommendations the North Service Area began reducing the amount of fluoride added to the water system. Granby Town Manager Wally Baird explained the levels in the North Service Area are already down to 0.9 milligrams per liter, and the Town plans to continue to reduce North Service Area down to the recommended level of 0.7 milligrams.

The South Service Area’s fluoride levels will remain at 1.1 milligrams per liter. No fluoride is added to the water in the South Service Area, explained Superintendent of the South Service Area Doug Bellatty. Instead the water levels in the South Service Area are naturally occurring.

Bellatty explained why the fluoride levels in the South Service Area will remain the same.

“The only process available to communities to lower the naturally occurring levels is through reverse osmosis,” he said, “which is extremely expensive and energy consuming.”

Bellatty pointed out that while the recommendation levels have been dropped, the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) — the highest level of a contaminant allowed in drinking water — for fluoride is 4 milligrams per liter.

More water treatment coverage here.

Sump pumps hooked directly to wastewater lines a headache in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs circa 1910 via GhostDepot.com
Colorado Springs circa 1910 via GhostDepot.com

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Ryan Maye Handy):

…some incorrectly installed sump pumps in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood, around Colorado Avenue and 31 Street, have caused Colorado Springs Utilities’ wastewater lines to overflow with groundwater.

Utilities crews have worked for the last two weeks to remove some water from overloaded wastewater systems before the contaminated water overflows manholes and rushes into the street, said Utilities spokesman Steve Berry.

Pumps hooked up directly to the wastewater system are a problem for Utilities and homeowners.

“The number one risk is really for the customer,” Berry said Tuesday. “If the sump pump is hooked up to the wastewater system … then the biggest threat is really to your home.”

If excess groundwater gets pushed into the wastewater system, it could backfire and send water back into a home or a neighboring home, Berry said…

Sump pumps are supposed to discharge excess groundwater outside a home, typically through a pipe that dumps into a yard. But, particularly in older neighborhoods such as Pleasant Valley, sometimes the pumps are connected directly to a home’s wastewater line, which connects to Utilities’ wastewater main.

Homeowners own their wastewater lines and are responsible for maintaining them, and if damage on the private line affects the main Utilities line, homeowners could be liable, Berry said. He said homeowners should make sure pumps are correctly installed, although most will likely have to hire someone to check the system.

“These folks don’t even know, and it’s certainly not their fault, but now they need to,” Berry said.

More wastewater coverage here.

“Why is plastic in the oceans such a huge problem?” @5gyres

Snowpack news: Great looking statewide map but % of normal is misleading after runoff starts

Check out the Basin High/Low graph for your favorite basin to see how much snow water equivalent is left. There will be a new streamflow forecast for Colorado released week after next. Below is the streamflow forecast from May 1.

May 1, 2015 Colorado streamflow forecast map via the NRCS
May 1, 2015 Colorado streamflow forecast map via the NRCS

The May 2015 “e-WaterNews” is hot off the presses from Northern Water

Katie Melander
Katie Melander

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

Northern Water’s Katie Melander is the new president of the Colorado section of the American Water Resources Association. Katie is a water resources engineer. The gavel was turned over to Katie during the AWRA Colorado Section (@awraco) symposium May 1. An objective of the AWRA Colorado section is to promote the advancement of water resources research, planning, development, management and education.

More Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District coverage here.

Poudre RiverFest [May 30] restores, celebrates our local river — North Forty News

Cache la Poudre River
Cache la Poudre River

From PoudreRiverFest.org via the North Forty News:

Five nonprofit organizations are partnering to host Poudre RiverFest, a community festival, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 30 at Legacy Park in Fort Collins. Admission is free.

Save the Poudre, Sustainable Living Association, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, Synergy Ecological Restoration and Fort Collins Museum of Discovery are co-organizing the festival to restore, celebrate and educate people about the Cache la Poudre River, a significant natural resource in our community.

Poudre RiverFest will feature a variety of activities for people to explore the role of the river as an important habitat for wildlife, a recreation area and a source for clean drinking water. Educational and volunteer activities will take place throughout the day with a culminating celebration in the afternoon.

At this family-friendly festival, people can experience scientific research at a bird banding station, go on nature walks to learn about the Poudre River and its inhabitants, volunteer to enhance wildlife habitat through hands-on service projects, and learn about conserving the river through a photo scavenger hunt. In the afternoon, they can kick up their heels to live music from 12 Cents for Marvin, The Burroughs and Justin Roth, connect with local conservation organizations and enjoy kids’ activities, food, a beer garden and more.

This is the second year of this current iteration of Poudre RiverFest. In May of 2014, like-minded nonprofits launched the festival in the wake of the high floodwaters of 2013. More than 1,000 people attended the festival to learn about, restore and celebrate the Cache la Poudre River last year.

All proceeds from the festival support conservation and education nonprofits in Fort Collins.

People are encouraged to get involved! Volunteers are needed to help with hands-on service projects and the festival itself. To volunteer or view the festival schedule, visit http://www.poudreriverfest.org

More Cache la Poudre River watershed coverage here.

Water bosses fish for good ideas in 24,000-plus #COWaterPlan comments — the Colorado Independent

cwcbmeetingsterling0520115
Colorado Water Conservation Board meeting, by Bob Berwyn

 

From the Colorado Independent (Bob Berwyn):

Thousands who commented on Colorado’s draft water plan will be surprised to learn that their letters, postcards and emails may be discounted by at least one of the 15 water bosses working on the issue.
The water plan has been hailed by Gov. John Hickenlooper as an unprecedented grassroots effort to end the state’s long-running water feuds and to avoid a looming water crisis. The plan will determine if Front Range cities with booming populations will suck up more water for growth, threatening farms on the eastern plains and mountain streams.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board asked for everybody’s input – from farmers and ranchers, to city-dwellers, CEOs, water companies, kayakers and anglers. But everybody’s voice won’t hold equal weight. The question the board is discussing is whose voices should count and how much should each perspective matter?
“I am not moved by the form letters. I’m much more interested in the thoughtful comments from individuals,” said Travis Smith, representing the Rio Grande River Basin at the CWCB’s May 20 board meeting in Sterling.
Smith was referring to over 22,000 comments generated by groups like Conservation Colorado that sent out action alerts to members, asking them to weigh in on the plan’s first draft.

pamassarocommentcoloradowaterplan052015coloradoindependent

Many of those form letters featured John Fielder photos of mountain streams and short, often passionate personal notes about how the plan should conserve Colorado water for fishing, farming and play.
Smith, speaking for farmers and ranchers, said quantity of comments shouldn’t outweigh quality. It’s not a majority-wins process.

“I don’t sign form letters. The ag community in general will show up at the first few meetings and say their piece. Then they go back to work, confident that the entity will carry the weight of those comments,” Smith said.

In all, the draft-plan garnered about 24,000 comments. Approximately 22,906 of those were classified as form letters.

Board members questioned how to judge the relative weight of the different comments, but nobody other than Smith suggested that the form letters shouldn’t count.

A majority of the public wants Colorado to conserve water for the recreation industry and agriculture. But not everybody agrees how water should be used, and the diversity of opinions challenge planners balancing competing and growing demands for water from cities, farms and wilderness.

The comments will be used to shape the second draft of the water plan, due July 15. That draft will recommend ways to divvy up water over the next few decades. It will likely recommend that new laws and regulations get passed – some of which might have a hefty price-tag.

The comments have already spurred “real changes” to the second draft. CWCB will rewrite the section on finding money to help pay for water projects, study which streams may need more environmental protection and add more information on climate change.

“The data show the environment is an important part of Colorado’s water plan, but we need more input from the ag community,” he said. “The environmental groups participated in this process in a big way,” said CWCB director Jim Eklund. “But just because we didn’t hear from the ag community doesn’t mean that’s not an equally important value,” he said.

The most important thing is to mine the comments for really good ideas, nuggets that will help the state move the needle on water issues, Eklund said.

It appears Colorado could cut water use by 30 percent in the next 35 years with simple conservation measures taken by industry, agriculture and individuals, said CWCB staffer Becky Mitchell.

The challenge is finding ways to make that happen – which includes convincing lawmakers to make funds available for water-saving measures, said CWCB director Russ George.

Once planning is done, he said, the hard political work will begin.