Millions in Grants Flow to El Paso County Water Projects | Government

Sixteen Pikes Peak regional water projects that will improve drinking water infrastructure, provide sustainable water sources, upgrade facilities and manage wastewater are receiving millions of dollars in grants to help them cross the water line. arrival.

El Paso County officials announced Monday that they have allocated just under $21 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to fund “critical” water and wastewater projects that will serve nearly 54 000 current homes and could serve about 95,000 homes by 2050. The funds are part of nearly $140 million in federal coronavirus relief dollars allocated to El Paso County under the stimulus bill of 2021.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime funding opportunity for many of these water and related infrastructure projects,” said El Paso County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez, who represents the county’s fourth district where find many water projects receiving subsidies on Monday. .

The county opened its grant application process in March and asked third-party water experts to thoroughly review and score each project, El Paso County Administrator Bret Waters said. County officials have prioritized projects related to water recycling, contaminant removal, rural projects and those that have “a low chance of viability” without funding, he said.

Ramah City Administrator Joe Allen said the $2 million given to his rural town of just 125 people to help build a new sewer project saved officials from taking on big loans and pass the inflated costs onto residents.

“Receiving this grant is an important step in ensuring our residents’ rates don’t have to be increased substantially,” he said.

The project will include a new pond system to treat wastewater, Allen said. The city’s sewer system is unlined and too small to adequately meet its needs, he said. In 2020, city officials expected to pay $2.5 million to build the new system, the most expensive step, but the final price is now unknown due to inflation. Construction is expected to begin in the spring, he said.

The City of Fountain has received $2.147 million to help build a reservoir and water treatment plant that will extract water from Fountain Creek, treat it on site, and then reinstate it into the city’s water system. city ​​where it will then flow to the residents.

The project is still in the early stages of development and the final cost is unknown, said Taylor Murphy, director of water resources and engineering at Fountain.

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The project, said Mayor Sharon Thompson, “will be a major contributor to our ability to provide the treated water we need to serve our growing community.” The city’s 2021 master plan indicates that Fountain is nearing the limit of its water system to provide adequately treated water to meet peak daily demands; this project is one of the five options considered by the municipal council as solutions.

Security Water District, Widefield Water and Sanitation District and Venetucci Farm were also among the winners. These entities and the City of Fountain, Gonzalez said, had invested non-repayable funds to immediately address the mitigation of high levels of “eternal chemicals,” or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, discovered in their wells in 2016 at the as a result of pollution caused by firefighting. mousse.

“Most importantly, all of our water districts are absolutely delivering clean, safe water,” Gonzalez said, due to the rapid contamination mitigation efforts by county, state and federal governments. “But it was a great opportunity to help these districts and the City of Fountain get more money for projects that may not have been funded because they put funds up front” to forever mitigate the chemicals in their water, he said.

The biggest grant – $4 million – has been given to a regional water project called “the Loop”, which can be used to pay for the engineering design of the project of around $160 million to $200 million, it said on Monday. Cherokee Metropolitan District General Manager Amy Lathen.

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The project aims to provide a sustainable water supply and relieve pressure on the Denver Basin, a finite resource that provides water to thousands of El Paso County residents. The Loop would use its members’ water rights to divert water from Fountain Creek to the Chilcott Ditch in southern El Paso County and deliver it to a nearby reservoir. There, suppliers would process it to near-drinkable standards at an on-site treatment facility before pumping it north and delivering it to users along the way. Water suppliers would re-treat the water to ensure it is clean and then deliver it to their customers.

“When everything is connected, the water providers along the loop will be able to supply renewable water, which we cannot do right now in perpetuity,” Lathen said.

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