Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A picture named ionizedatomichydrogen.jpg "Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new chemical catalyst that uses hydrogen gas to efficiently remove and destroy harmful perchlorate in contaminated groundwater. Found in solid-rocket fuel, roadside flares and fireworks, perchlorate is a dangerous contaminant that can disrupt thyroid function by interfering with the uptake of iodine. Infants and fetuses are believed to be particularly at risk from the effects of perchlorate exposure. Because perchlorate is readily soluble in water, it can be transported vast distances in groundwater or rivers. A plume of contaminated groundwater from a manufacturing plant near Las Vegas, for example, reached the Colorado River and spread throughout the Southwest. Cleanup could take decades. 'Perchlorate has been recognized as a significant environmental contaminant in U.S. water supplies, and its physical and chemical properties pose a serious challenge for remediation,' said John Shapley, a professor of chemistry at Illinois and co-developer, with graduate student Keith Hurley, of the new catalyst...

"The new catalyst is composed of two metals - palladium and rhenium - supported on activated carbon. The catalyst operates at room temperature under normal atmospheric pressure, and does not dissolve in water.

"'In catalytic operation, the rhenium removes an oxygen atom from the perchlorate molecule in what is called an atom transfer reaction,' Hurley said. 'Meanwhile, the palladium activates the gaseous hydrogen atoms so they will react with the freed oxygen. What's left is harmless chloride and water.' The catalytic reaction continues as long as there is both hydrogen gas and perchlorate contaminant present. 'While current technologies - such as ion exchange systems - can concentrate and remove perchlorate from water, they cannot destroy it,' said Shapley, who will describe the new catalyst at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, to be held in San Francisco, Sept. 10-14. 'Our catalyst would take a concentrated stream of perchlorate and get rid of it altogether.'"

Category: Colorado Water

6:19:16 AM    

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West slope counties the state and the Tamarisk Coalition are getting some cash to fight the invasive species, according to the Aspen Times. From the article, "The Garfield County Commissioners Monday put their weight behind a push to treat invasive tamarisk and Russian olive trees on the Western Slope. The nonprofit Tamarisk Coalition, based in Grand Junction, intends to apply to the state Department of Local Affairs for a $95,000 grant to plan to control tamarisk along waterways and restore riparian habitat...

"In supporting the grant application, the county also agreed to administer the money and committed $10,000 in matching funds. Six Western Slope counties - Garfield, Dolores, Delta, Mesa, Montrose and Montezuma - will participate in the plan. The plan will involve three steps: identification, eradication and rehabilitation of riparian habitat, said Chris Treese, external affairs manager for the Colorado River Water Conservation District, which also contributed matching funds."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

5:53:46 AM    

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Rocky Mountain News: "The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by supporters of a plan to pipe billions of gallons of Western Slope water to the thirsty Front Range, apparently killing the project...

"Natural Energy Resources Co. wanted to build a reservoir near Crested Butte to store up to 1.2 million acre-feet from the headwaters of the Gunnison River to be piped to fast-growing Arapahoe County. But in a 6-0 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld an August 2005 decision by Montrose-based Water Judge Steven Patrick, who canceled the company's 20-year-old conditional water right after determining there wasn't enough water available in the system for the project. [John] McClow said the water conservancy district and other water users in the area had always considered the proposed project a threat to their water."

Here's the coverage from the Pueblo Chieftain. They write, "A 25-year legal battle over water rights in the Upper Gunnison basin came to an end Monday when the Colorado Supreme Court upheld a Gunnison water court ruling denying a water right for power generation at the proposed Union Park Reservoir. The court upheld a ruling earlier this year that threw out Natural Energy Resources Co.'s 1982 conditional use application for 325,000 acre-feet of water saying the company was unlikely to ever get federal approval to use nearby Taylor Park Reservoir. It marks the third time the project has lost in Colorado Supreme Court. Arapahoe County bought the project from NECO in the late 1980s, but returned ownership to NECO after losing the cases. The Supreme Court earlier ruled there were only 20,000 acre-feet of water available for the project, not the 900,000 acre-feet NECO once sought to store.

"'We're disappointed. This is harmful to Colorado and the western region. A federal reservoir should be more useful to the citizens of the United States,' said Dave Miller, who runs NECO from his home in Palmer Lake. 'This sets a dangerous precedent that restricts the use of federal reservoirs for multiple purposes.' By comparison, the mood was jubilant at the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District, which has led opposition to Union Park throughout its history. 'Union Park was a pie-in-the-sky idea for sucker investors,' said Dennis Steckel, vice-president of the district. 'With the interstate compact and downstream obligations, there is no available water. And with the drought, I doubt even the 20,000 acre-feet (from the earlier Supreme Court decision) are available.'

"Miller's concept for Union Park went beyond power generation. The power would be used for pumped-back storage in Union Park, a natural valley above Taylor Park Reservoir. From there, water could be transported by tunnels to any of Colorado[base ']s five major river basins, Miller argued. The project had occasionally gotten support from a few state lawmakers, but not many, as Miller peddled it relentlessly. In recent months, he was still trying to promote it with the state Interbasin Compact Committee, without any apparent success...

"The Colorado Supreme Court, in upholding the Gunnison water court decision, said NECO was unlikely to ever obtain federal permission to use Taylor Park Reservoir and its use of it as a forebay or afterbay for power generation would be harmful to its current uses. Taylor Park Reservoir was completed in 1937 and primarily provides irrigation storage for farmers in the Montrose and Delta areas, through the Gunnison-Uncompahgre Tunnel. It is operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, and also has secondary recreational benefits. Unlike the two earlier rulings against Arapahoe County, the Colorado Supreme Court said there are no more remaining issues in the case, a decision which apparently has killed the Union Park project...

"Miller's basis for supporting the project stretches back to Reclamation's vision of a Gunnison-Arkansas transmountain project developed in the 1930s, which saw up to 600,000 acre-feet available. In the 1950s, under Colorado River Compact negotiations, Colorado's share of the Gunnison River for future development was seen as 300,000 acre-feet. Some interpret that as 240,000 acre-feet available for transmountain diversions, after satisfying needs of 60,000 acre-feet for the Upper Gunnison Valley. But Reclamation insists that some is needed to preserve endangered species of fish. The Upper Gunnison district says all of the water should remain in the valley."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

5:43:16 AM    

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