New pool outflow means bye-bye to ‘hot pots’
A plan by the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool to move its outflow pipe farther downstream on the Colorado River should mean the end of the famed “hot pots.”
For decades, the series of cascading pools along the north riverbank beneath the concrete outflow pipe from the Hot Springs Pool have been a popular, if illegal, attraction for those looking to get a free soak in the soothing hot springs water.
Years ago, police began cracking down on use of the hot pots, which involves trespassing on the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Interstate 70 right of way. Countless criminal incidents have also been reported there, ranging from underage drinking to assaults.
City Council on Thursday approved plans by the pool to relocate its discharge pipe, as well as outfall pipes that carry storm water drainage from the pool’s parking lot, to a point just downstream from the Two Rivers Park pedestrian bridge.
The pool is moving ahead with the work in advance of the Grand Avenue bridge project, during which CDOT’s contractors plan to take over the pool’s west parking lot for a staging area.
The city, in an agreement with the pool last year regarding ownership of the existing bridge landing next to the pool that will go away when the new bridge is built, allowed the new pipeline to pass through Two Rivers Park.
It wasn’t known until recently exactly where the discharge point would be. But among several concerns by city staff has been to eliminate the potential for recreating the hot pots.
Engineers intend to accomplish that by placing the discharge pipe right at the river’s edge so it would be harder to create pools.
City officials had wanted the pool to move the outfall lines to the center of the river to even further prevent the hot pots from reoccurring. However, that would require additional permitting and extra time to accomplish, which pool representatives said they don’t have time to do.
“We’re under a tight time window to get this done, and need to have all the infrastructure in by April 2,” said Tim Thulson, the pool’s attorney. “It does also add an incremental cost to the project.”
The alternative would be to go with a CDOT proposal to empty the pipeline upstream from the bridge. But that would be more difficult in terms of controlling the hot pots issue, and would fail to accomplish some of the pool’s other goals with the project, he said.
“This plan does solve the hot pots issue, and the problems with having people down there,” Thulson said.
By moving the outfall pipes closer to the confluence with the Roaring Fork River, it also creates a better “mixing zone” that’s needed for water quality requirements, pool officials explained.
The new outfalls also alleviate problems associated with a potential 100-year flood event that could result in backwater going into the pool, which would be more likely the farther upstream the pipes are located, they said.
City officials were also concerned that the new discharge point could harm the city’s plans to implement a river shoreline restoration and beautification project at Two Rivers Park.
Council’s approval included direction for the pool to work with city staff to incorporate some of the shoreline improvements into their project as a way to kick start the work. The plan, adopted in 2014, calls for walkways, beach areas and other accessible space along the riverfront adjacent to the park.
The pool is also required to work with the city to make sure the new drainage pipes do not impact the city’s sanitary lift station, which is located in proximity to the new outflow point.
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The Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge experienced vandalism in the form of significant water damage after a man removed a pipe valve with a fire extinguisher flooding four hallways. The lodge however remains open and operational.