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From The Lakewood Sentinel (Glenn Wallace):
A recent sunrise saw Joe Centeno, a maintenance plumber with Jefferson County schools, already busy at work at Arvada’s Peck Elementary, changing out water cutoffs, connector lines and fixtures in hopes of improving the water quality.
The district’s effort to test water outlets at all 158 schools for high lead levels found 10 elevated level sites at the 50-year-old school — a sink in the teachers’ lounge, three sinks in the kitchen and six classroom sinks, some of which had bubbler drinking attachments.
“This is the guinea pig,” Centeno said. “We’ll see if this works.”
His best guess as a plumber was that the repairs should fix the problem, based on the scattered lead readings, as opposed to schoolwide contamination that would have required more extensive and expensive replumbing.
From The Lakewood Sentinel (Clarke Reader):
This fall, Red Rocks Community College makes Colorado history by offering a bachelor of applied science degree in water quality management technology.
Red Rocks is the first community college in the state to offer a BAS degree, the result oftwo years of work by college faculty.
“The accreditation to offer a BAS will expand the learning opportunities for the students,” said Chelsea Campbell, faculty lead of the Water Quality program, in an email interview. “This accreditation gives us the ability to offer more hands-on training for students and help them become better prepared for a career in the water industry.”
The water quality management technology program focuses on applications, regulations and technologies of water, and has been around since the 1970s, Campbell said. The campus’ water quality building contains a hard, wet lab for the two water and wastewater analytical classes, and an outdoor distribution lab. The outdoor distribution lab is a live lab where students are able to experience all of the elements seen within the distribution system. The curriculum is directed in a specific way to increase likelihood of employment in the industry.
“The BAS allows us to be pioneers in creating educational pathways that perhaps have not yet existed in this industry,” said Linda F. Comeaux, vice president of instructional services at the college. “Our students will get, what I believe, is the best learning experience, the elevated/upper division knowledge and hands-on, applicable experience to go right into the workforce and secure in-demand jobs.”
“I am most looking forward to the growth of opportunities for students, especially since the water industry has very few degrees that are specific to water,” Campbell wrote. “Most degrees are focused around the environment or more generic sciences. This degree provides students courses that match their specific interests. Employers can now hire graduates that match their specific needs and the graduates can get the degree they really want.”
As with most programs at Red Rocks, Water Quality is designed to be affordable and flexible — classes are offered in a variety of modalities including online, traditional classroom and hybrid.
“We already have Ph.D. and qualified faculty on staff that will be able to teach some of these upper division courses,” Comeaux wrote. “I am looking forward to the faculty having the opportunity to utilize additional parts of their spectrum of knowledge and do what they do best — give our students exceptional experiences.”
From email from Reclamation (Peter Soeth):
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López today announced $2.93 million in funding for water treatment technologies research. This funding is being provided through the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program for the development of new water treatment technologies and Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program for research into the deployment of new technologies that supports the expansion of water technologies in new locations.
“In a number of Western river basins, Reclamation and its partners are seeing demands for water exceed traditional supplies,” Commissioner López said. “Funding research into new water treatment technologies will expand the number of water supply resource options.”
The Desalination and Water Purification Research Program will provide $1.78 million for nine lab-scale and three pilot-scale projects. This program supports the development of new advanced water treatment technologies. Up to $150,000 will be provided for research and laboratory studies that must be completed within a year and up to $200,000 per year for pilot-scale projects that must be completed within two years.
For example, the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, will receive $143,869 to study approaches to increase technical feasibility of using membrane distillation for desalinating high-concentration brines, brackish waters, produced waters and seawater. [ed. emphasis mine]
The Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Research Program will provide $1.15 million to help fund nine projects in the Western United States. This program helps communities address water supply challenges by providing much-needed funding for research to establish or expand water reuse markets, improve or expand existing water reuse facilities, and streamline the implementation of clean water technology at new facilities.
For example, the City of San Angelo, Texas, will use $300,000 of federal funding and $1,094,849 of non-federal funding to perform pilot-scale testing to assess existing water treatment technologies for a direct potable reuse project. The proposed research will evaluate approaches to maximize water recovery, verify the performance of advanced water treatment processes, and assess the viability of reverse osmosis concentrate disposal using deep injection wells at an inland location.
A complete list of the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program projects can be found at http://www.usbr.gov/research/programs/desalination. A complete list of Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Research Program projects can be found at http://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/title.
The funding provided today supports the White House’s Water Innovation Strategy to address Water Resource Challenges and Opportunities for Water Technology Innovation. The Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Research Program also supports the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART Program.
From The Durango Herald (Mary Shinn):
The Durango City Council decided Tuesday fluoride will remain in the city’s drinking water.
Public health arguments that fluoridated water helps protect those with limited access to dental care seemed to sway councilors…
The question deadlocked the city’s Utilities Commission, so that advisory board did not have a united position to present, but the commission’s chairman, John Ballew, and San Juan Basin Health Department Executive Director Liane Jollon both spoke in favor of fluoride…
The Utilities Commission has been exploring fluoridation in drinking water since fall. The board heard presentations from residents who want to see fluoridation ended and from health officials who tout widespread fluoridation as a public health victory.
From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Ellie Mulder):
In an online petition that has received about 2,000 signatures, Callie Loudenber is asking local and state officials to pay for bottled water and filters for El Paso County residents whose water she calls “dangerous.”
After reading about the issue Friday, Loudenber ran an online search on how to create a petition. She was directed to change.org.
She began sharing the petition on her personal social media, and it soon took off.
Although she is asking for short-term solutions, including free bottled water, she also is advocating for a long-term solution “that doesn’t increase these residents bills to pay for a problem they didn’t create and have been living with for years,” according to the petition.
She emphasizes that someone doesn’t have to live in the Security area to be concerned about the issue of contaminated water.
“I want it in people’s minds. I want people to be talking about it, thinking about it – not just in Colorado,” she said. “This could happen anywhere, and it’s something we need to take seriously.”
She’s a stay-at-home mother who lives in Colorado Springs, but she has already witnessed the effect the situation is having on her family members who live in Security Water District’s Zone 1. Her aunt, for example, has asked family not to visit because “she doesn’t feel comfortable” about it, Loudenber said.
In addition to creating the petition, she has reached out to businesses and organizations, including Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, which will hold a bottled water distribution for affected residents from 10 a.m. to noon Friday at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, 5354 U.S. Highway 85.
Loudenber said she plans to volunteer at the distribution.
Shannon Brice, Care and Share’s marketing and communications director, said the organization wants to make sure residents don’t have to cut into their food budgets to buy bottled water.
“We’re well aware of the need for people to have healthy food and nourishment for their bodies,” Brice said. “We wanted to make sure we were part of the solution.”
Danielle Oller, spokeswoman for El Paso County Public Health, said a community meeting is planned for 6 p.m. July 7 to provide “clear information to residents to address the concerns that they’re having. Information about the location will be released shortly.
The county will also test private wells for free, Oller said. For more information, call El Paso County Public Health at 575-8602.
On the petition’s page, Loudenber shares links to articles and places to go for further information. Many include examples of how other states have dealt with similar issues.
“I’m really careful to make sure I stay away from anything that looks like it might be relayed to a conspiracy theory, because I don’t want to invalidate what we’re doing,” she said.
The petition, titled “Free Bottled Water for Security, CO,” can be found at http://change.org/p/colorado-governor-free-bottled-water-for-security-co.
From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
Usually a water treatment plant just sits off to the side of a city, pumping along with little notice unless something goes wrong.
But more than 300 people gathered Friday at the Edward W. Bailey treatment plant on Colorado Springs’ east side to dedicate the Southern Delivery System.
A choir belted out “God Bless America” with its inspiration, Pikes Peak, as a backdrop. People who had worked on the project over its more than 20-year history reconnected. At the end, there was a grand toast with — what else? — a jigger of water from keepsake mini-jugs.
“The history of Colorado Springs is a history of bold and ambitious water projects,” Mayor John Suthers told the crowd. “Without those bold and ambitious water projects, Colorado Springs would be a city of only 20,000 or 30,000.”
Instead it has grown to 450,000, and with SDS makes it possible for the city to get bigger.
That made most of the people at the ceremony happy. Suthers and others praised the regional benefits of SDS, urging cooperation in areas such as economic development and transportation.
“Water has been our community’s greatest challenge and its greatest resource,” said Jerry Forte, CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities. “Nothing happens without water.”
Forte detailed the history of the $825 million water pipeline from Pueblo Dam to Colorado Springs, explaining that planning dates back to 1996, when the idea crystallized in the Colorado Springs Water Plan. It was one of four alternatives in the document, but the only one that made it to the finish line.
It was a tortured run, however, filled with disputes in Lake, Chaffee, Fremont, Pueblo and Crowley counties. Forte nodded at the entanglements only briefly.
“There were lots of opportunity to build character and relationships,” he deadpanned as the crowd started chuckling.
Instead, he concentrated on the accomplishments that led to SDS, recognizing former officials such as Lionel Rivera, who was mayor of Colorado Springs when a deal was made in 2004 on Arkansas River flows through Pueblo. Seated next to Rivera was Randy Thurston, who pushed his fellow members on Pueblo City Council to approve the agreement. He enumerated the benefits of SDS to Colorado Springs’ partners Fountain, Security and Pueblo West.
Forte also lamented that SDS required 470 permits, which was a good set-up line for Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who joked: “How many of you thought SDS stood for Still Doing Studies.”
On a serious note, Gardner praised the collaboration it took to build SDS, saying more projects like it are needed, citing their importance in Colorado’s Water Plan.
“If we do not invest in water projects, Colorado will see a shortfall of 500,000 acre-feet per year,” Gardner said. “That’s five times the supply of Colorado Springs.”
While the event maintained a festive spirit, some from Pueblo County who attended were more low-key in their assessment of SDS.
“Technologically, it’s an amazing accomplishment,” said Bill Alt, whose property on Fountain Creek is being destroyed because of increased flows from the north. “I’m not sure all the cooperation they were talking about is there. I’d have to say the stormwater agreement probably benefit everyone.”
Jane Rhodes, who also owns land on Fountain Creek, said there are still challenges ahead in dealing with Fountain Creek flooding.
“The first of the $50 million payments will come, and one of those projects is on my land,” Rhodes said. “I’m glad SDS is done so the projects can get started.”
From 9News.com (Maya Rodriquez):
Fifty million gallons: it’s the amount of water that will be flowing through a new water system every day.
It’s called the Southern Delivery System, or SDS. It is the largest water system built in the western U.S. so far in the 21st century.
The planning for it began 20 years ago. After nearly a billion dollars and more than 470 permits later, it’s now a reality in Colorado Springs.
“In the whole western United States, water is probably the most precious commodity that we have and all of us need to do what we can to steward water,” Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte said.
That is where the system comes in – it is designed to treat water efficiently, as more and more people move to southern Colorado.
“This is all the piping that goes put to the finished water tank to be delivered to the customer,” said Operations Superintendent Chad Sell. “One of the most state of the art facilities in Colorado.”
The system serves more than a half million people in Colorado Springs, parts of Pueblo and the communities of Fountain and Security. Within 50 years, though, 900,000 people are expected to get their water from SDS.
“I think the long-term vision that put this in place means we’re good for the next 50 years,” said Colorado Springs Utilities Board Chair Andy Pico. “We have water. Water in the West is critical.”
Even as they celebrate the opening of the SDS as it stands now, they’re already planning for a second phase that will eventually expand it to handle more water for more people.
Colorado Springs officials say the SDS project did not receive any state or federal dollars. The 830-million dollar project, which also came in more than $100 million under budget, is being funded through bonds and will be paid for by its water customers of today and the next 30 years.
From KRDO.com (Angelica Lombardi):
After more than 20 years of planning and construction, Colorado Springs Utilities dedicated the historic Southern Delivery System water project at the Edward W. Bailey water treatment plant Friday morning.
On April 28, history flowed out of this historic Southern Delivery System for the first time.
It took decades of planning and six years of construction and Friday morning the hard work was recognized.
“I’ve been involved in this project for 14-plus years. To see it complete with excellence and all the people who contributed. I was overwhelmed,” said Jerry Forte, CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities…
“It’s amazing for Colorado Springs and our partners. It means water for the future. We call Southern Delivery ‘water for generations’ and what that means is our children and grandchildren will be able to have water in Colorado Springs for 50, 60-plus years from now,” said Forte.
The water is pumped out of the Pueblo Reservoir and makes its way through 50 miles of pipeline going through three pump stations and ending at Colorado Springs…
It took more than 470 permits to finalize the project.
The Water Treatment Plant has approximately 200 miles of electrical wires and cables, enough to stretch from the Water Treatment Plant site nearly to the International Space Station or the Pueblo Reservoir four times. The Water Treatment Plant used enough rebar to fill 54, 50-foot rail cars or a train half-a-mile If the concrete masonry blocks used in construction of the Water Treatment Plant were stacked, they would be four-and-a-half times taller than Pikes Peak. The raw water tank at the Water Treatment Plant has a capacity of 10 million gallons, enough to fill 200,000 bathtubs. 5,401 truckloads of pipe to SDS projects Net tons of steel used for pipe furnished was 37,810.
From the Colorado Springs Independent (Pam Zubeck):
Some 400 to 500 people gathered at the Edward W. Bailey Water Treatment Plant, 977 N. Marksheffel Road, Friday morning to dedicate the Southern Delivery System pipeline project.
The project, 20 years in the making,d represents the service, safety, commitment and excellence brought to bear by hundreds, even thousands, of people, said Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte.
He noted that the project adds another noteworthy item to Colorado Springs’ water history, which began in the late 1800s when city founder Gen. William Jackson Palmer built the El Paso County Canal from Fountain Creek on what is now 33rd Street, Forte said.
SDS, he noted, will provide water for generations to come.
SDS first appeared in the city’s water master plan in 1996 and was geared to supply water to the 20,000-acre Banning Lewis Ranch, which had been annexed into the city in 1988. Only a fraction of that property is built out, but SDS now is viewed as a crucial component of the city’s existing system to ensure redundancy. Most of the city’s water comes from transmountain systems built in the 1950s and 1980s. SDS brings water from Pueblo Reservoir.
Although Rep. Doug Lamborn heralded the project for not requiring federal money, the Pueblo Dam and reservoir project was part of the Frying Pan-Arkansas project built in the 1960s and 1970s by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, along with a special district that collected property tax money in the region. SDS, obviously, wouldn’t have been possible without that reservoir on the Arkansas River.
City Council President Merv Bennett demonstrated the span of time needed to plan and build SDS by noting 11 Councils have played key roles in the project. He recognized El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark, a former Council member, who he said laid the groundwork for relationships with Pueblo officials; former Mayor Lionel Rivera, who oversaw the project as both mayor and a Council member; Randy Thurston, former Pueblo City Council member; former Vice Mayor Larry Small, who now runs the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District, which grew from SDS negotiations; and Margaret Radford, former Council member who now works for an SDS contractor, MWH Global.
CSU Chair Andy Pico boasted that the project was originally envisioned to cause water rates to increase by 121 percent, but it has required increases to rates of only 52 percent. The $825 million project came in $160 million under budget.
Mayor John Suthers also spoke. His role might have been one of the most pivotal, because he sorted out a mess created by his predecessor, Steve Bach, in terms of the city’s stormwater situation, which had become a nearly insurmountable barrier to the project.
First, Suthers had to deal with federal and state clean-water regulators who have accused the city of failing to comply with the Clean Water Act for years before Suthers took office in June 2015. Those negotiations are ongoing. Second, Suthers had to find a quick solution to stormwater improvements to satisfy Pueblo County commissioners, who threatened to reopen the city’s SDS construction permit. (Bach opposed a ballot measure in 2014 that would have funded stormwater work.)
Suthers finessed a deal in which the city agreed to spend $460 million in the next 20 years to upgrade and maintain the city’s drainage facilities. Pueblo officials accepted the deal, clearing the way for water to begin flowing through the SDS pipeline in late April, as scheduled. (Bach was invited to, but did not attend, Friday’s SDS dedication.)
Suthers said the city would have remained a tourist town of 20,000 but for its water resources. “Our future is bright, and we are poised for continued success,” he said.
In a surprise development, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., showed up and lauded the city for the project. “It can’t be said enough how important water infrastructure is to the state of Colorado,” he said. “It’s our past. It’s our present, and it’s our future. It’s my hope this [project] can be replicated throughout Colorado, because water will continue to drive our success.”
Others who spoke included CSU’s Chief Water Officer Dan Higgins, and the project director since 2007, attorney John Fredell, who became the face of SDS in the past decade through contracting, negotiations with neighbors, legal wrangling and interviews with the media. About 470 permits were required for the project.
As Forte said, “We never would have reached this point today without one person,” that being Fredell.
When Fredell stepped to the dais, he received a standing ovation from a crowd that included elected officials, contractors, project partners, officials from surrounding towns and Pueblo, Utilities employees and citizens.
Fredell, in turn, thanked Forte for his “trust and vision and leading every step of the way.”
After the speeches, the crowd was invited to open gift boxes at each chair which contained a commemorative coin and a little glass of SDS water, used to toast the project.