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Weekly water roundup: Fountain Creek water quality, Aspen geothermal, Pave the Poudre?


Photo via Coyote Gulch archives

Short takes from the week in Colorado Water:

USGS study of Fountain Creek E. coli points to pigeon poop

On Wednesday the USGS plans to blame summer surges of E. coli in Fountain Creek on pigeons, according to a report from The Colorado Springs Gazette.

For years now Colorado Springs Utilities has been blamed for the E. coli problem in the creek so city officials were relieved to hear the news.

Molecular microbiology tests matched E. coli -- from creek water -- to humans, and other animal sources where there is a specific test. While not able to pinpoint pigeons -- since a testing framework is lacking -- they are suspected due to their numbers in Manitou Springs in the summer.

Nunn Town Board approves resolution opposing Powertech's proposed in situ uranium mine.

Nunn joined Fort Collins, Greeley, Ault, Wellington and Timnath in opposing the project. Powertech hopes to cash in on the move to nuclear energy by mining an aquifer beneath 10,000 acres of Weld County. Opponents worry about water quality and are distrustful of the company's ability to put things back after the mining operation is finished.

Craig scores EPA award

Craig city officials were bursting with pride last week after winning the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Award for Sustainable Public Health Protection from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA release said:

This project includes the replacement of a chlorine gas disinfection system and inadequate contact basin with an ultraviolet/sodium hypochlorite on-site generation system. These upgrades will help the City meet future safe drinking water requirements to reduce illness linked with the contaminant Cryptosporidium and other disease-causing microorganisms. Craig participated in the development of the required design criteria for the UV treatment technique, which is a prototype for future systems in Colorado.

Second asphalt spill in Poudre River in nine days

The EPA was already on hand on Thursday -- finishing up last week's cleanup -- when the second asphalt tanker in nine days went into the river. The new spill cleanup went much quicker and was essentially complete as we go to press.

Peru Creek Basin dye test

The EPA is starting up a dye test in the Peru Creek Basin to help map groundwater and surface water flows in and out of the Pennsylvania Mine and into Peru Creek.

Aspen starts water court process for geothermal project

The City of Aspen hopes to capitalize on its proximity to geothermal energy and network of tunnels left over from the mining days to build a distribution system for geothermal energy in the downtown area. Here's the link to a Coyote Gulch post from July 2008 that describes the project.

Last week the town started the water court process. They'll need to show that the project will not harm senior water rights owners.

Halligan Reservoir expansion

Fort Collins-Loveland, East Larimer County and North Weld County water districts are dropping out of Fort Collins's proposed expansion of Halligan Reservoir. The environmental review is taking longer and costing more money than originally thought. The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported that a letter from the districts to the city read, in part, " appears little progress, if any, has been made in the planning and environmental review for permitting the project."

For more info: I follow Colorado water issues at Coyote Gulch.