Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Monday, February 20, 2006

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Officials are struggling to explain periodic high levels of E. coli in Fountain Creek, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article, "Testing the water for bacteria in Fountain Creek provides a snapshot in time of conditions along the river, and there are still unexplained spikes in the data, local health department officials say.

"That's all the more reason for continuing to monitor the creek and try to understand when periodically high rates of contamination are coming from, they add...

"The health department is measuring E. coli, a species of bacteria found in all animals and not necessarily harmful or deadly. E. coli, when found in water, indicates fecal pollution.

"Generally, when flows in Fountain Creek are higher, the levels of E. coli go up, above the standard of 126 colonies per 100 milliliters. The standard is set by the Environmental Protection Agency for recreational waters where people would be expected to come in contact with the water, said Ken Williams, environmental health specialist..

"While counts are elevated at times, the average count is calculated as a 'geometric mean' and remains below the standard, Williams said. Upper reaches of Fountain Creek have been listed as impaired for E. coli - meaning counts are above standards - by the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission.

"E. coli counts remained high through September on the Fountain, dropping off during the fall and winter months. Counts on the Arkansas River were usually lower than the Fountain in summer, and about the same in late fall and winter.

Category: Colorado Water

7:56:18 AM    

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The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments tomorrow on two cases from Michigan about development of wetland areas. The cases could have far reaching effects in the west, according to KVOA Tuscon.

From the article, "The U.S. Supreme Court will decide Tuesday whether federal regulators overstep their constitutional bounds by enforcing clean-water laws in areas where there's barely any water to protect.

"For Arizona, a ruling either way could carry far-reaching consequences because of the maze of small riverbeds, washes, dry lakebeds, stock tanks and seasonal riparian areas that get wet only a few times a year, often only after a heavy rainstorm.

"Under the Clean Water Act, many of those waterways are regulated and require land users to seek permits and submit plans to protect the water from pollution.

"Environmental groups, in rare alignment with the Bush administration, say the law works fine, keeping sewage, toxic chemicals and other pollutants from seeping into the nation's water supply.

"But two developers in Michigan believe the law goes too far, forcing landowners to spend time and money safeguarding isolated marshes that may never connect to a flowing river or a lake.

"They want the court to narrow the scope of the law, a position backed by a coalition of home builders, farmers and Western water providers, including the Central Arizona Project."

Category: Colorado Water

7:37:58 AM    

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