Coyote Gulch's Colorado Water
The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land. -- Luna Leopold

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

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A moment ago Barack Obama was sworn in as President of the United States. Quite a day for the U.S.A.

President Obama is actually a westerner, a Hawaii native.

10:06:23 AM    

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Here's an update on the top 11 compounds found in U.S. drinking water, from Rowan Hooper writing for New Scientist. From the article:

A comprehensive survey of the drinking water for more than 28 million Americans has detected the widespread but low-level presence of pharmaceuticals and hormonally active chemicals. Little was known about people's exposure to such compounds from drinking water, so Shane Snyder and colleagues at the Southern Nevada Water Authority in Las Vegas screened tap water from 19 US water utilities for 51 different compounds. The surveys were carried out between 2006 and 2007.

The 11 most frequently detected compounds - all found at extremely low concentrations - were:

- Atenolol, a beta-blocker used to treat cardiovascular disease

- Atrazine, an organic herbicide banned in the European Union, but still used in the US, which has been implicated in the decline of fish stocks and in changes in animal behaviour

- Carbamazepine, a mood-stabilising drug used to treat bipolar disorder, amongst other things

- Estrone, an oestrogen hormone secreted by the ovaries and blamed for causing gender-bending changes in fish

- Gemfibrozil, an anti-cholesterol drug

- Meprobamate, a tranquiliser widely used in psychiatric treatment

- Naproxen, a painkiller and anti-inflammatory linked to increases in asthma incidence

- Phenytoin, an anticonvulsant that has been used to treat epilepsy

- Sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic used against the Streptococcus bacteria, which is responsible for tonsillitis and other diseases

- TCEP, a reducing agent used in molecular biology

- Trimethoprim, another antibiotic

The concentrations of pharmaceuticals in drinking water were millions of times lower than in a medical dose, and Snyder emphasises that they pose no public health threat. He cautions, though, that "if a person has a unique health condition, or is concerned about particular contaminants in public water systems, I strongly recommend they consult their physician".

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: Colorado Water
8:34:37 AM    

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Here's a press release about HB09-1006 -- the bill to smooth out sanitary rates inside and outside district boundaries -- from the Roxborough Water & Sanitation District, published in YourHub:

H.B. 09-1006 was introduced by Representatives Jim Kerr (R.,Jefferson County) and Frank McNulty (R., Douglas County) and Senator Mike Kopp (R., Jefferson County) to eliminate the potential for unfairness and inequity in the rate setting process for wastewater treatment services provided by municipalities in urban areas to customers outside the municipal boundaries where such customers comprise more than 50% of all customers. Such "outside city" customers have no ability to vote for or against the elected officials charged with responsibility for rate setting, and have no recourse if the rates established are not rationally determined.

"The Bill would amend current law to require that any rates, tolls, charges and fees adopted by a municipality located in an urban area and serving more than 50% of its users outside its borders be based upon ademonstrated actual cost of service, including any debt service, system replacement or upgrade," Rep. Jim Kerr stated. "A breach of this obligation should be enforceable by court action. My constituents need fair recourse. Littleton is already obligated by the terms of their agreement with the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to establish an 'equitable rate structure,' but they are not living up to this agreement. Hopefully this Bill will avoid litigation."

The legislative sponsors represent the eight special districts (Connector Districts) that have contracted with the City of Littleton to receive wastewater treatment service from the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant jointly owned by the Cities of Englewood and Littleton. Currently, over 68% of Littleton's customers reside outside of the City and are served through the Connector Districts. The Connector Districts and their residents have no involvement in or oversight of the governance of the Plant or the setting of rates. Senator Mike Kopp stressed "our constituents have no vote and little input. It's a form of taxation without representation."

In 2008, the Littleton City Council imposed a 20 percent sewer service charge increase on outside-City users while holding inside-City sewer service charges at 2007 levels. The Connector Districts are disputing the appropriateness of Littleton's method of justifying this rate disparity.

Current law applicable to statutory cities and towns provides that extraterritorial sewerage system rates must be "just, reasonable, and necessary," but does not provide an objective basis for making this determination, nor a remedy for challenging unfair rates. Nor does the law apply to home-rule jurisdictions like Littleton. A survey of the laws of other states reveals that some states have used a public utilities model, subjecting providers to the jurisdiction of a public utilities commission, while others require a public vote; others still require rates to be "fair, equitable and reasonable." Guidance from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority urges jurisdictions that provide wastewater utility service to set rates reflecting true "cost of service."

"It's important to me that wastewater customers are charged fair and equitable rates regardless of residency," said Representative Frank McNulty."The development of regional wastewater treatment facilities is very necessary and that won't happen if jurisdictions can penalize nonresidents. This new standard will enable municipalities to keep pace with the true cost of service and be in a better position to fund new improvements required by federal law."

For more information contact:

Larry Moore, Roxborough Water & Sanitation District, at303-979-7286

Pat Fitzgerald, Southwest Metropolitan Water and SanitationDistrict, at 303-979-2333

Rep. Jim Kerr at 303-866-2939

Rep. Frank McNulty at 303-866-2936

Senator Mike Kopp at 303-866-4859

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
8:12:12 AM    

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka): "Plans for a new park at the confluence of Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River will be discussed with East Side residents at a meeting this week. The meeting is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Full Gospel Church Hall, 1101 E. Seventh St. The park is being developed by the city of Pueblo in conjunction with the Fountain Creek corridor master plan, a joint effort of Colorado Springs and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District...The concept of the park is to use sediment removed from Fountain Creek to build up levees that have deteriorated over time. The banks would be landscaped to strengthen them and replace invasive species with beneficial vegetation, reducing the dangers of flooding to the Lower East Side. The area along Fountain Creek would be developed from the confluence to Eighth Street, with a playground and water park possible as part of the design. It would also tie into a city plan to revitalize several blocks on the East Side."

Category: Colorado Water
8:00:23 AM    

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From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (John Gardner): "Glenwood Springs City Councilman Dave Merritt was unanimously appointed as Garfield County's representative to the Colorado River Water Conservation District at Monday's Board of County Commissioners meeting. 'I'm very pleased to have the appointment,' Merritt said. 'It represents a culmination of many years of work on the river district in the Colorado River Basin.' Merritt, who currently works as a consultant for HDR Inc., an architectural, engineering and consulting firm, worked as a staff member for the CRWCD for 23 years and has more than 30 years of experience working in the Colorado River Basin on water-related issues. 'I've got very strong feelings for the river district and for western Colorado water,' he said. 'Western Colorado water is a passion for me.'"

Category: Colorado Water
7:53:46 AM    

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