Little Thompson water positive for lead — Loveland Reporter-Herald

Roman lead pipe -- Photo via the Science Museum
Roman lead pipe — Photo via the Science Museum

From the Loveland Reporter-Herald (Pamela Johnson):

Customers within the Little Thompson Water District, including three local schools, have been notified of elevated levels of lead discovered during recent water testing.

The water district tested 16 taps from its customers in September, and one of those revealed enough lead that the district notified all customers of the result and precautions they can take to be safe. The levels were not high enough to violate drinking water standards or require additional action.

“The risk is on a house by house basis depending upon how much lead they have in their plumbing system,” explained Ken Lambrecht, operations manager for the district.

“It happens when the water sits in the home plumbing.”

Both the Little Thompson and the Central Weld Water Districts receive their water from the Carter Lake Filter Plant, so they test their samples together.

The districts submitted 33 total samples in September, 16 from Little Thompson and 17 from Weld. Of those, one Little Thompson site and 5 Weld sites tested above 15 micrograms per liter of lead, requiring them to notify all customers and offer education about lead. The Little Thompson reading was 21.7 micrograms per liter, while the highest in Weld was 31.9.

To lower lead levels, the districts have implemented a new procedure whereby a substance named poly-orthophosphate is added to the water, Lambrecht said. This coats the pipes so any lead within them cannot leach into the water and affect customers, he said…

Steps to reduce lead

The Little Thompson Water District offers the following advice for reducing the risk of lead exposure in water:

  • Flush out the system by running the cold water until it is noticeably colder if you haven’t had the water running for several hours. Save the water for plants or cleaning.
  • Always use cold water for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula. (Note: Boiling water does not reduce lead.)
  • Periodically remove and clean the faucet’s strainer and aerator and run water to remove debris.
  • Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead.
  • Consider installing a water treatment device.
  • Have a licensed electrician check your home’s wiring because, if grounding wires are attached to pipes, the risk of corrosion may increase.
  • Rueter-Hess Water Purification Facility celebrates grand opening in Parker, CO — WaterWorld

    The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provided regulatory approval for the first-time use of ceramic membrane filters for a drinking water system in the U.S. (Photo courtesy of Dewberry)
    The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provided regulatory approval for the first-time use of ceramic membrane filters for a drinking water system in the U.S. (Photo courtesy of Dewberry)

    From WaterWorld:

    On Wednesday, Oct. 21, the Rueter-Hess Water Purification Facility (RHWPF) — located in the town of Parker, Colo., southeast of Denver — officially celebrated the grand opening of tours for the facility.

    The water treatment plant, which serves a community of approximately 50,000 residents, uses new technologies that have enabled the Parker Water and Sanitation District (PWSD) to convert from rapidly declining groundwater sources to a renewable water supply, including surface water, groundwater, alluvial well water, and reclaimed wastewater.

    Designed by Dewberry, the RHWPF is the first plant in the world to incorporate a trio of cutting-edge technologies to meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water standards. The process includes three key stages:

    A coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation chamber using microsand to enhance particle sedimentation while reducing the chamber’s surface area requirements.

    A recirculating powdered activated carbon (PAC) chamber cutting costs by sending used PAC back through the system, increasing the amount of contact time between PAC particles and dissolved organic compounds for a more aggressive and efficient treatment.

    The treated water being pumped through ceramic membrane filters to remove remaining particles larger than 0.1 microns in size and any remaining microsand or PAC.

    In the first such application in a drinking water system in the U.S., the 600 ceramic membrane modules were specifically chosen for their ability to withstand impacts from the abrasive sand and PAC particles used in upstream processes and then be cleaned back to like-new condition. The ceramic membrane filtration system is anticipated to last much longer than conventional polymeric membranes.

    “The ceramic membranes are very durable and can withstand impacts from sand and powdered activated carbon, which is very abrasive,” said Alan Pratt, PE, Dewberry project manager for the design of the RHWPF. “The ceramic membranes can be cleaned back to a new condition, whereas polymeric membranes typically deteriorate over a life of six to 10 years and need to be replaced.”

    The completion of the 10-MGD RHWPF (expandable to 40 MGD) is part of a visionary, multi-phase plan for the water district, where district leaders had long recognized groundwater as a diminishing resource within the rapidly developing area. The new network features a 50-CFS pump station that brings surface water from nearby Cherry Creek and Cherry Creek alluvial wells into the 75,000-acre-foot Rueter-Hess Reservoir, completed in 2012.

    Water stored in the reservoir flows by gravity into the RHWPF. After moving through the two ballasted sedimentation chambers and the ceramic membrane filters, the disinfected water is pumped into the PWSD’s distribution piping network for use by customers. Wastewater is returned to nearby reclamation facilities and then to Cherry Creek for reuse.

    In addition to Dewberry, the project team included Western Summit Constructors, Inc. as the primary contractor, Garney-Weaver for construction management, and Kruger, Inc. for the ballasted sedimentation and ceramic membrane filter technologies. “The ability for us to turn many different water qualities into a high-quality potable water supply has been made possible only with the combined effort of many different companies coming together,” said PWSD District Manager Ron Redd. “Dewberry, Western Summit and Kruger have all worked very hard to make this plant a reality.”

    Fluoride will return to the Snowmass water supply — The Aspen Daily News

    Calcium fluoride
    Calcium fluoride

    From The Aspen Daily News (Madeleine Osberger):

    The Snowmass Village Water & Sanitation District Board voted in a split decision Wednesday to return fluoride to the community water system serving 3,400 users. Board members said their 3-2 vote responded to the will of the people, and to the threat of recall.

    “We can’t not pay attention to our customers,” said board president Joe Farrell, in reference to a non-binding survey of the district’s water users that showed 64 percent favor fluoride. “We can’t not pay attention to the medical and dental communities,” added Farrell, whose father and grandfather were both dentists.

    Water Values podcast: Membrane Technology and the Revolutionary Aquaporin Membrane with Claus Helix-Nielsen


    Click here to listen to the podcast. Here’s the inside skinny:

    Claus Helix-Nielsen, the Vice President of Public-Private Partnerships for Aquaporin A/S, joins The Water Values Podcast to discuss the state of membrane technology and the Aquaporin A/S forward osmosis membrane. Claus’ depth and breadth of experience will impress you as he provides the history of how these membranes are deployed to provide commercial benefits. Claus also provides unique insight into the research and development process and how funding is such a critical element of technology development.

    Gold King Mine’s temporary treatment plant to open by Oct. 14 — The Denver Post

    From The Denver Post (Kirk Mitchell):

    The portable plant will treat 550 gallons per minute of water still discharging from the mine in southwest Colorado, according to an Environmental Protection Agency news release. The system, intended to meet treatment needs through the coming winter, will replace temporary settling ponds constructed by the EPA in August…

    The portable system is necessary because winter temperatures at the mine’s elevation of 10,500 feet north of Silverton can drop to 20 degrees below zero.

    EPA’s contractor, ER LLC, awarded a subcontract on Sept. 22 to Alexco Environmental Group Inc. to do the work.

    The treatment system will neutralize the mine discharge and remove solids and metals, the news release says. The EPA continues to evaluate data to determine the impact of the Gold King Mine on water quality.

    Confluence of Cement Creek and the Animas River from the Coyote Gulch archives (11/21/2010)
    Confluence of Cement Creek and the Animas River from the Coyote Gulch archives (11/21/2010)

    Loveland: Castle Rock (Denver Basin groundwater) wins the Rocky Mountain Section AWWA taste test

    Taste test Winner.Castle Rock. September 14, 2015 Rocky Mountain Section AWWA.
    Taste test Winner.Castle Rock.September 14, 2015 Rocky Mountain Section AWWA

    Congratulations to the water treatment personnel at the City of Castle Rock. From email from the Rocky Mountain Section of the AWWA (Greg Baker):

    Who has the tastiest water in the Rocky Mountains? According to the judges at a taste test at the 2015 Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works (RMSAWWA) annual conference in Loveland, Colorado, Castle Rock Water has 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 Chicago next June.

    The winners of today’s competition were Castle Rock Water taking first place, East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District in second, with Denver Water and Aurora Water tying for third place.

    Judging this event were Cory Reppenhagen, with 7News in Denver, Erin O’Toole, reporter with KUNC Radio in Ft. Collins, Colorado, Pinar Omur-Ozbeck with Colorado State University, David Dani with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and John Donahue from North Park Public Water District in Machesny, Illinois.

    The RMSAWWA is the regional section for the AWWA, which is the largest non-profit, science-based organization for drinking water professionals in the world. The RMSAWWA covers Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico and has over 2,400 members, representing water utilities, engineering consultants and water treatment specialty firms.

    Denver Basin aquifer map
    Denver Basin aquifer map

    Durango: City needs to pump $4 million into water and sewer infrastructure


    From The Durango Herald (Mary Shinn):

    While it is not likely all the projects will make the city’s 2016 budget, Utilities Director Steve Salka on Tuesday made a strong case for many of the maintenance projects to the Durango City Council.

    The intakes on both the Florida and the Animas rivers, a foundation piece of the system need to be upgraded. Some of the intakes on the Florida are almost 100 years old.

    On the Animas River the city needs to install improvements to ensure enough water flows to the intake.

    This intake is located near the Durango Whitewater Park, and the park has exacerbated a problem with the way the water flows through the channel. Right now, not enough water is flowing over the intake, Salka said.

    The construction fix for the problem is estimated to cost about $250,000, and the Durango Parks and Recreation Department may contribute $100,000 to the project, he said.

    This will help make sure the department is ready to rely more heavily on the Animas River during maintenance on Lemon Reservoir, which stores Florida River water. Work will be ongoing at the reservoir from August of 2016 through 2017, he said.

    This likely won’t be the only construction in the Animas next year because the Utilities Department is also planning to replace four of the pipelines that cross beneath the river. These pipes are about 50 years old.

    Many of the other projects Salka has planned focus on stainability at water-treatment plant and in other parts of the system.

    Some of these projects include better insulation and variable-frequency drive pumps to reduce their demand for electricity.

    He would also like to install larger compressors that would help eliminate the need for them to turn on and off constantly; this would address noise complaints from the Hillcrest neighborhood.

    Eventually, Salka plans to install a solar garden that would fund the entire plant. But before the solar panels can be installed the La Plata Electric Association must install new equipment, and this project is not currently slated to happen in 2016…

    The department will continue replacing water meters again the year by installing 300 new ones.

    City crews have replaced 600 meters over the last two years, and it’s had a positive effect on the system.

    “My revenue starts going up; we get more water accountability,” Salka said.

    In dealing with the sewage system, Salka proposed $1.8 million in upgrades that will needed no matter what decision is made on the wastewater-treatment plant.

    Councilors are debating whether to move the plant or renovate it at its current location in Santa Rita Park.