Keystone: Greeley Water wins taste and odor competition at RMSAWWA conference

LadyDragonflyCC -- Creative Commons, Flickr
LadyDragonflyCC — Creative Commons, Flickr

From KDVR.com:

Nine municipalities from a three state region competed for the title of best drinking water based on taste, odor and appearance.

The judges at a taste test at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works (RMSAWWA) annual conference in Keystone deemed Greeley as the city with the best water in the region.

Nine municipalities from a three state region competed for the title of best drinking water based on taste, odor and appearance.

The winner of this competition will represent the RMSAWWA at the national “Best of the Best” taste test at the AWWA Conference in Philadelphia next June.

Castle Rock Water was named runner-up.

9/12/2013: Phenomenal rain reports coming in from all over Boulder County — Coyote Gulch

Storm pattern over Colorado September 2013 -- Graphic/NWS via USA Today
Storm pattern over Colorado September 2013 — Graphic/NWS via USA Today

I made the mistake of checking my Twitter feed overnight on the 12th. Couldn’t get back to sleep. What a set of storms. Aurora got almost as much rain as Boulder County. Lots of flooding.

@OmahaUSACE: Public meetings scheduled to discuss Cherry Creek Dam studies

Cherry Creek Dam looking south
Cherry Creek Dam looking south

Here’s the release from the US Army Corps of Engineers (Eileen Williamson):

Three public meetings to provide an update on the status of two studies taking place at Cherry Creek Dam are scheduled for the week of September 20.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host meetings to provide a status update on alternatives under consideration to address risks from extreme storm events associated with Cherry Creek Dam including a study to modify the dam’s water control plan.
The meetings will be held at the following times and locations:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 20 from 6 – 8 p.m.
    Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church
    Rooms 112/113 (Main Building)
    10150 E. Belleview Avenue
    Englewood, CO 80111
  • Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    Virginia Village Library
    1500 S. Dahlia Street
    Denver, CO 80222
  • Thursday, Sept. 22 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    Aurora Municipal Center
    City Café
    15151 E. Alameda Parkway
    Aurora, CO 80012
  • The public meetings will include a presentation and an open house to provide the public an opportunity to ask questions about Cherry Creek Dam and the alternatives being presented and considered as part of the Dam Safety Modification Study and Water Control Plan Modification Study.

    Meeting materials will be made available online following the meetings at http://go.usa.gov/cQ7hP.

    Background: Cherry Creek Dam and Reservoir is located in the southeast Denver metropolitan area on Cherry Creek, 11.4 miles upstream of its confluence with the South Platte River.

    In 2005, (post-Katrina) USACE began screening its dams (approximately 700 across the U.S.) to determine each dam’s risk level. Cherry Creek Dam received an elevated risk rating primarily because of the large downstream population and the potential for overtopping during an extremely rare precipitation event.

    A dam safety modification study began in 2013 and is being conducted in accordance with USACE policy as described in Engineering Regulation 1110-2-1156 “Safety of Dams – Policy and Procedures.” An Environmental Impact Statement is also being prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended.

    Michigan Ditch tunnel bore slows, new cutters for boring machine on order

    Michigan Ditch photo via AllTrails.com
    Michigan Ditch photo via AllTrails.com

    From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan):

    A stretch of unusually hard rock inside a mountain near Cameron Pass has slowed a tunneling project aimed at shoring up Fort Collins’ water supply.

    Progress on a 760-foot tunnel that will carry Michigan Ditch water to the city-owned Joe Wright Reservoir was stopped as of Thursday.

    Crews are waiting for the arrival of replacement parts for the cutting head of a tunnel boring machine, or TBM, that was custom built for the project, said Owen Randall, chief engineer for Fort Collins Utilities.

    Bearings on cutting disks on the rotating head have repeatedly burned out while dealing with a wall of pegmatite, a type of granite that can have various minerals and be exceptionally hard, Randall said.

    Project managers are “literally looking around the world” for replacement disks, he said. When some will arrive at the work site is not known.

    Rock conditions have varied tremendously during the course of the tunneling, which began in late June. Some layers of rock have been fractured and relatively easy to cut through, he said. Others have been difficult.

    “We went 300 feet on the first set of disks,” Randall said. “We used up two sets going the next 8 feet. It’s just been very variable.”

    Before the TBM was shut down, the cutting wheel was grinding out clouds of powder rather than chunks of rock, he said.

    The machine was 482 feet into the mountain as of Thursday. Time and weather are becoming concerns as crews want to have the TBM off the mountain before heavy snow comes.

    Randall said crews still expect to finish the project this fall.

    Once the tunnel is cut, a 60-inch pipe made of fiberglasslike material will be put in place to carry Michigan Ditch. Randall said he wants to have water flowing through the pipe before the onset of winter.

    “We are going to get through,” he said. “But safety will dictate how long we keep people working up here.”

    Crews have been working seven days a week, 12 hours a day. That will increase to 24 hours a day Sept. 12. About 1,000 feet of pipe is expected to be delivered that week, Randall said.

    The project is in response to a slow-moving landslide that has been affecting the ditch for several years. Damage was especially severe in 2015.

    High Line Canal draft vision public meetings

    Highline Canal Denver
    High Line Canal Denver

    Here’s the release from the High Line Canal Conservancy:

    HIGH LINE CANAL CONSERVANCY REVEALS DRAFT VISION AT THIRD SERIES OF COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSES OPEN TO ALL

    For the first time, guests can see the initial community-driven vision for the future of the Canal and share feedback

    The High Line Canal Conservancy, which is dedicated to preserving the recreational and environmental future of the High Line Canal, is excited to share the dates and locations in Denver, Cherry Hills Village, and Highlands Ranch for “Chapter 3: Our Story,” a series of community open houses dedicated to shaping the future of the High Line Canal. The goal of the open houses is to present the initial vision of the future of the High Line Canal reached by residents and ask the public to share their feedback.

    “After two successful rounds of community open houses where we’ve listened to passions, concerns and priorities for the Canal, we’re thrilled to host a third where we will present the draft vision for the Canal. This vision embodies the specific elements of the Canal that the community values, including its natural character, connectedness, and varied sections,” said Harriet Crittenden LaMair, executive director of the High Line Canal Conservancy. “We set up these open houses in communities all along the Canal so that we can hear from as many people as possible, including families, neighbors, and friends of anyone living near the Canal.”

    After months of listening to residents share how they envision the future of the Canal, for the first time, the High Line Canal Conservancy team will share its draft shared vision for the Canal, giving the public a chance to respond. Friends, families, and neighbors are welcome!

    The vision looks ahead to opportunities to enhance the Canal’s vivid sense of place, rooted in nature and the varied communities through which it passes. It also looks for opportunities for enhancing management and stewardship, ensuring the Canal continues to be a beloved natural refuge for our region for future generations.

    The dates and locations of the interactive open houses are:

  • Wednesday, September 7, from 5-8 p.m. at the Kent Denver Dining Hall
    4000 E Quincy Ave., Englewood, CO 80113
  • Thursday, September 8, from 1-1:30 p.m. at the Green Valley Ranch Library
    4856 Andes Ct., Denver, CO 80249
  • Thursday, September 8, from 5:30-8 p.m. at Westridge Recreation Center
    9650 Foothills Canyon Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO 80129
  • All three sessions will be identical, so guests are invited to drop by the open house most convenient to them and stay for as long as they would like.

    Here’s how to stay updated on High Line Canal project updates:

    ● The High Line Canal newsletter.
    ● High Line Canal’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).
    ● Participate in public meetings
    ● Help us spread the word: Please invite your friends and neighbors to participate too!

    ABOUT THE HIGH LINE CANAL CONSERVANCY

    The High Line Canal Conservancy was formed in 2014 by a passionate coalition of private citizens to provide leadership and harness the region’s commitment to protecting the future of the High Line Canal. With support from each jurisdiction and in partnership with Denver Water, the Conservancy is connecting stakeholders in support of comprehensive planning to ensure that the Canal is protected and enhanced for future generations. For more information, please visit http://www.highlinecanal.org.

    Longmont councillors want rate payers to weigh in on paying for Windy Gap supply

    Map from Northern Water via the Fort Collins Coloradan.
    Map from Northern Water via the Fort Collins Coloradan.

    From the Longmont Times-Call (Karen Antonucci):

    The Longmont City Council has opted to participate in the Windy Gap Firming Project, which would construct a reservoir in order to hold some of the water produced by Longmont’s water rights.

    There are three options to finance Longmont’s projected $47 million portion of the Windy Gap Firming Project — one using all cash and two using variations of debt.

    If the council chooses to pay the $47 million in cash, it would mean initial water rate increases of 13 percent in 2017 and 12 percent in 2018, above the 9 percent increase in both of those years that has already been approved, for totals of 22 percent and 21 percent.

    Or, the council could choose to use $41 million cash and $6 million in debt. This would mean initial rate increases of 8 percent in both 2017 and 2018 above the already approved 9 percent increase in those years. With this option, the city would spend $50.1 million total, including interest, on the project.

    Finally, the council could choose to finance the project with $30.3 million in cash and $16.7 million of debt, it would mean initiative water rate increases of 5 percent in both 2018 and 2019 above the 9 percent increase in both those years. This option would ultimately cost the city $55.8 million.

    For the cash option and the $6 million debt option, the rate increases over 10 years would be similar. The $16.7 million debt option would result in the highest total rate increase over a decade.

    Longmont spokeswoman Holly Milne said that the council asked for the survey and the online comment form because they wanted resident feedback before they make a decision.

    Residents can visit http://longmontcolorado.gov/departments/departments-n-z/water/water-resources-supply/windy-gap-firming-project and fill out an online form with their opinion of what the city should do.

    The city is also surveying 3,000 randomly selected Longmont households with a postcard survey. The households chosen will be different than the households that will receive the city’s separate customer satisfaction survey.

    Denver: 2100 acre-feet for South Platte environmental flows

    The South Platte River typically all but vanishes as it passes through Denver’s industrial neighborhood north of downtown, downstream of the Burlington Ditch diversion, near the Cherokee power plant. Photo/Allen Best
    The South Platte River typically all but vanishes as it passes through Denver’s industrial neighborhood north of downtown, downstream of the Burlington Ditch diversion, near the Cherokee power plant. Photo/Allen Best

    From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

    The Denver Water and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said they’ve obtained 2,100 acre-feet of water that they will use strictly for environmental purposes…

    “We’re trying to make the South Platte the best it can be for this city. … It’s not going to be like a Danube,” Denver Water manager Jim Lochhead said. “We can make it what it is, which is a plains river that creates an appreciation of the connection to water in this city. The city would not exist without that water supply.”

    The idea is that putting more water into the Platte at the southwestern edge of metro Denver will mimic long-lost natural flows, to the extent possible given the channelization of the Platte after the 1965 flood that destroyed buildings in the floodplain. More water also would help a fish hatchery where state wildlife workers breed rainbow trout.

    For more than two decades, Denver conservationists have worked at reviving the Platte corridor, building cycling-oriented pathways and riverside parks. It’s been complicated because metro Denver grew up around the river and, for more than a century, people exploited it as a sewer with industrial plants and discharge pipes draining into the water. Now as kayakers, surfers, skaters, waders and others flock to the river, city leaders face rising demands for more water, cleaner water and wildlife.
    But just beyond Denver, farmers await every drop of the treated wastewater metro users put back in the Platte, water used to grow food. There’s so much demand for South Platte water across booming northeastern Colorado that parts of the river run dry.

    By 2018, project leaders say, new environmental flows from Chatfield will keep that from happening — and create curves and pools favoring aquatic bugs and fish.

    “Now we’ve got some water so that we can start to build the river back to being a natural-looking river. It is limited. The river won’t have access to the true floodplain. But we can build smaller floodplain ditches so that the river will look more like a sinuous river coming through Denver,” CPW senior aquatic biologist Ken Kehmeier said.

    “The water will be used mostly during the low-flow times of the year,” the 65 or so days when water rights holders have the ability to dry up sections of the river, Kehmeier said.

    “It will mean water stays in the river downstream of Chatfield, including the hatchery. That’s where the trout will come from. And brown trout in the river now, with this extra water, will be able to reproduce naturally.”

    Lining up storage for the water proved crucial. Denver Water has committed to work with the Greenway Foundation to buy space for 500 acre-feet in an enlarged Chatfield Reservoir. This water adds to 1,600 acre-feet of water to be used only for environmental purposes that federal engineers required as “mitigation” for Colorado’s repurposing of the reservoir from flood control to water supply. The 500 acre-feet would be owned by the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District, a downstream agricultural entity, which agreed to pay annual operational and maintenance costs.

    Storing water in Chatfield costs $7,500 an acre-foot, Denver Water officials said. They’ll spend $2 million to buy storage space, on the condition the Greenway Foundation does the same…

    This push to put more clean water in the Platte through Denver coincides with broader environmental efforts. Federal, state and city engineers have been mulling possibilities for restoring other metro waterways, for which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dangled possible funding.