Colorado

Apr 24, 2010 1:12 PM by David Ortiviz

PW seeks permission to send waste water to reservoir

The Pueblo West Metro District wants to send waste water into the Pueblo Reservoir, which is also where many people get their drinking water. The proposal isn't sitting well with county leaders, but Pueblo West says its safe and necessary.

"You're always trying to get water, and you're always trying to conserve water," said Larry Howe-Kerr, Pueblo West District Manager. Howe-Kerr knows it's a bold effort to conserve water in Pueblo West. Reclaim and reuse more waste water. "For the people of Pueblo West it ensures water into the future," said Howe-Kerr.

Right now, sewer water runs from a plant near Highway 50 and Pueblo Blvd to Wildhorse Creek, but only about a third of that water is reclaimed. Under a new proposal, the metro district hopes to reclaim 90% of the waste-water by pumping it into the Pueblo Reservoir. "and then we take that water out of the reservoir at another location, treat it, and bring it into the homes, so it's a complete recycle in a way," said Howe-Kerr.

Howe-Kerr says the reservoir-water would go through advanced treatment to turn it into clean drinkable water, but Pueblo West stills need an application from the state. "We're not going to get the site application unless we meet those stringent standards," said Howe-Kerr.

There is opposition at the local level. At a hearing Thursday night, the Pueblo Area Council of Governments voted 8 to 2, recommending the application be denied. Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner sits on the Pueblo Area Council of Governments board and was at the meeting. Chostner says Pueblo West's proposal is "risky." Chostner says he's concerned about the environmental impact. "The science is not definitive as to the potential ill effects," said Chostner. "I think the PACOG acted prudently," he added.

The main alternative for Pueblo West is buying more water rights, otherwise their water woes may limit future growth.

The State of Colorado has the final say, on whether to issue an application for Pueblo West to change its discharge location. More to come.

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