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Glenwood Council to consider grant to improve water system

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City Council agenda For full City Council agenda go to http://cogs.us/129/Agendas-Minutes

Glenwood Springs City Council may take a step to significantly improve Glenwood Springs’ water system at Thursday’s regular meeting.

City staff is recommending approval of a resolution that authorizes a state Department of Local Affairs grant application to help pay for a dedicated 16-inch pipe from the city’s Roaring Fork pump station up to the water treatment plant.

Matt Langhorst, director of public works, said his predecessors would have done this “if they had $2 million lying around.”

This summer’s Grizzly Creek Fire highlighted the importance of this redundancy in the water system.

“The fire is definitely pushing this a little bit,” Langhorst said.

During the fire, the Grizzly Creek water intake was shut off, cutting the city’s No Name water supply about in half, Langhorst said in a previous interview.

The city has rights to Roaring Fork River water, but there are numerous limitations to using that water, high among them the cost of running the pump station.

To make matters worse, “Due to the two sources being hooked to the same line we cannot pump from the Roaring Fork River and gravity feed water from No Name at the same time,” Langhorst said in an email.

The new water line would solve that problem, meaning at times of low flow from the No Name water supply — which could be from the Grizzly intake being shut off during fire or during drought conditions — the city could supplement that water with Roaring Fork water, saving money.

“It’ll give us some resiliency during drought years,” Langhorst said.

It would also mean that when the 24-inch No Name pipeline is being repaired, the No Name water could be routed through the new pipe.

“Everything will be kind of redundant at that point. We’ll be able to pump water up to the plant, we’ll be able to gravity feed water up to the plant, and we’ll be able to gravity feed or pump water through either of the lines,” Langhorst said.

Or do both at the same time.

DOLA awards grants of up to $1 million, which will not cover the cost of the project.

“The DOLA grant will only pay for underground infrastructure. They like to pay for pipes,” Langhorst said.

There’s no guarantee the city will get the grant, but Langhorst is optimistic.

“I feel like we have a fairly important infrastructure project, and they usually like important infrastructure projects,” he said.

Langhorst said the project will cost between $2.3 million and $2.4 million. There are several options to find the rest of the money.

“We have a couple of funding sources available to us. The local banking community has reached out for financing; federal/state financing is available at a low rate; or we could self-fund if other options did not work out, but this would draw down reserves that were not planned for,” he said in an email.

Although Langhorst said he doesn’t have a time frame yet for completion of the project, his goal is to get the pipe installed before sediment could become an issue in spring.

“We would like to have all of this done if humanly possible by the time spring runoff happens,” he said.

Not part of the DOLA grant application but hand-in-hand with the use of Roaring Fork water is a separate project to build a concrete building or basin at the treatment plant.

“We have alternate consultants working on a sediment basin/mixing structure,” Langhorst said.

It would be used to mix together Roaring Fork and No Name water to create a consistent water source and to remove sediment.

“The plant likes to see a consistent water source come in,” Langhorst said.

That refers to sediment content as well as temperature.

“Slight temperature differences can change chemical load,” Langhorst said.

Langhorst said the pipeline is fairly simple in concept, but “the sediment basin has a lot of moving pieces.

“We’re trying to figure the most cost effective way and the most efficient way to create new infrastructure to try to pull as much sediment out of the water as possible,” he said.

Langhorst said more information about the sediment basin project will be available soon.

“It would behoove us to get that project potentially done at the same time as the pipeline if at all possible,” he said.

Together, the two projects will prepare the city’s water system to deal with problems in the future.

“We’re trying to set ourselves up to handle two or three different critical situations so we can still supply the city with water,” Langhorst said.

cwertheim@postindependent.com


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