Pinery Pipeline
December 2001
Volume 4, Issue 3

A New Name for Our Newsletter

There has been some confusion recently regarding the mailings that the Parker Water and Sanitation District has been sending out about their proposed Reuter-Hess Reservoir. To add to the confusion, both Districts have titled their newsletters “the Waterline”. So beginning with this issue of the newsletter we have changed our title to the Pinery Pipeline.

The figure below shows the boundaries of our District. We provide water, sewer, and wastewater treatment services to the shaded area shown on the map. In addition, we have an agreement to provide sewer service to a portion of Castle Rock, and in the future we expect to have agreements in place to provide sewer service to Franktown, and portions of the Canyons development.

We also function under two different names. We are officially the Denver Southeast Suburban Water and Sanitation District, but we do business as the Pinery Water and Wastewater District to better reflect the area that we serve.

The Parker Water and Sanitation District serves the town of Parker (except Cottonwood) with water, sewer, and wastewater treatment services. They have a large water storage project in development – the Reuter-Hess Reservoir – that will provide storage for water to help them meet their water demands. They send out information material on this reservoir to everyone in the 80134 zip code because it is such a large project, and because they are going through the Federal permitting process. We have no participation or financial interest in the Reuter-Hess project.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Wins National EPA Award

pwepasealThe District’s Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility has won the most prestigious award in the country, the EPA’s National Operations and Maintenance Excellence Award, First Place, Small Advanced Category. Only one award is granted each year in the nation in each of nine categories. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes municipalities, wastewater treatment programs, facilities, and individuals on a national level as examples of an outstanding commitment to protect and improve the quality of the nation’s waters. The national winners have demonstrated exceptional technological achievements or innovative processes in their waste treatment and pollution abatement programs. National awards are presented for prominent accomplishments in innovative operations and maintenance; beneficial Biosolids use; exemplary local pretreatment programs; and creative and cost-effective storm water and combined sewer overflow control programs and projects. EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water presents an engraved plaque for first and second place winners. This year’s presentation took place October 15th, in Atlanta, Georgia.

On October 5th, EPA Region 8 representatives, Anthony DeLoach and Jack Rychecky, toured the Wastewater Treatment Plant and attended a luncheon to present the EPA Region 8 Operations and Maintenance Excellence Award to the District. This is the second time since the plant opened in 1991 that the facility has received these two EPA awards.

Additionally, awards were collected September 12th, 2001, at the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association Conference in Angel Fire, NM. An award for Sewer Collections System Maintenance was presented for the District’s sewer cleaning program. (See Sewer Collection System Maintenance Program Advances). Wastewater Superintendent, Kevin Clark, was awarded the Operator of Merit, given to only one operator in each of three states, Colorado, New Mexico, & Wyoming. Kevin proudly acknowledges that his staff is who really makes these things happen. “Their teamwork and willingness to go the extra mile make this facility one of the best.”

What it means to me……
By Shannon Wirtjes
Pinery Wastewater Treatment Plant Lab Operator

As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to work in a field involving the environment in some way. Growing up in a family that hunts, I was exposed to environmental issues and wildlife conservation. I entered college exploring the fields of Wildlife Biology and Horticulture. Taking care of the animals or the land seemed like good things to do. Years later, I literally stumbled into the Pinery and wastewater treatment. I have spent almost five years in the lab at the treatment plant, testing every process, learning all about what makes this plant work and not work. It’s always changing, always growing, it’s something new every day. I’ve been learning about the environmental impacts of what we do, how it effects our neighbors, and trying to make it better. Not many people know we have to be certified by the State Health Department to run these plants. There is a lot of training and testing that each of us must do to do our jobs.

Our goal at the plant when we are touring school kids or distributing Biosolids to homeowners is to educate the public about our process, what happens to “it” after they flush and about protecting our groundwater.

What does getting this national EPA award mean to me? It means we’ve done a pretty outstanding job of accomplishing these goals. We’re one of the best in the country at what we do. We’ve taken the bar and raised it for ourselves, the environment and the public. This award means that I have found a job that not only is fun but one that actually accomplishes some good in the world. It’s a job that’s “icky” to most people, but I’m proud to say I can do it and do it well.

New Residential Water Rates

In August, the District Board approved new water rates for our residential customers, and in September, we sent a letter to all of our customers describing the new rates. Unfortunately, the letter that we sent contained an error in the water rates: the new residential rates billed bimonthly are:

0 – 6000 gallons $30
6001 – 40,000 gallons $30 plus 1.50/1000 gallons
40,001 – 60,000 gallons $81 plus $2.60/1000 gallons
60,001 – 100,000 gallons $133 plus 3.20/1000 gallons
Over 100,001 gallons $261 plus $4.50/1000 gallons
We apologize for any confusion from the previous letter.

District Reduces Property Taxes

Since 1991 the District has levied property taxes of 19 mills. For 2002 the District will be reducing the mill levy to approximately 10 mills. The actual mill levy will be determined at the December Board meeting. This equates to a reduction of approximately $82 per $100,000 of home value. It is anticipated that additional reductions will be possible in the future. We project that we will no longer require property tax revenue in 2010.

Fire Hydrant Bounty Program

 To further enhance the security of our system we are going to initiate a Fire Hydrant bounty program. This program is patterned after the successful program of the City of Englewood. To use a fire hydrant in the District, a user must apply for a permit and pay a deposit. In turn the user is assigned a hydrant and receives a hydrant meter and a heavy-gauge aluminum sign to be displayed on the hydrant during usage. If you notice possible illegal usage of a hydrant we ask that you call the District. We will dispatch one of our employees to investigate and, if warranted we will issue a fine. The individual reporting the incident to the District will receive a $50.00 credit to their account if it is determined that the hydrant was being used illegally. Hydrants being used for fire-fighting, street cleaning or flushing do not need to display the sign.

Pump Station 2 Rebuild

The District’s water Pump Station 2 is located on North Pinery Parkway just above the Pinery Pointe subdivision. This pump station was built in 1971 and it has served the District well. We are no longer able to obtain spare parts for the equipment in the pump station so this winter we will be taking the pump station out of service, expanding the building, and installing new pumps and equipment. Construction on this project started the week after Thanksgiving and it is due to be completed before our water demands increase in the spring.

Water Conservation Plan

We have prepared a draft water conservation plan which discusses our water resources, water conservation measures, and future goals for water conservation. This plan is required by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, and the focus is on voluntary measures to conserve water. While we have adequate water rights to provide water for full buildout of our District, the cost of drilling wells, and pumping the water is increasingly more expensive. Water conservation is an important way for us to control our costs, and manage our water resource.

Water System Security

The District has responded to the terrorist alerts by increasing the security on all of the components to our water system. Our staff inspects all of our facilities regularly, our water system is continuously monitored, our system is alarmed, and the Douglas County Sheriffs Department has stepped up their patrols of our facilities. There are additional security measures in place that we would prefer not to describe in detail. If you see suspicious activity in the District, or if you have questions about any of our facilities, please give our office a call at 303-841-2797.

CMOM, No Leaks!!!
Sewer Collection System Maintenance Program Advances.

New proposed EPA regulations will require districts to develop and implement Capacity, Management Operation and Maintenance (CMOM) programs for their collections systems. The regulation requires full and clear goals for growth and capacity of the system, documentation and plans for prevention of overflows and emergency response to an overflow situation.

This District has been working on our collection system maintenance program for almost four years now, well ahead of many area districts. The first three years have been spent writing requirements and specifications for new development, getting a good baseline program in place of our whole sewer system, inspecting the entire system and identifying problem areas and setting up computer database of symptoms. The database currently contains lot and service information, inspection and maintenance history, including video records and, in some cases, photographs of problems that can presented to the homeowner to help explain the course of action required. This database is now helping us coordinate a maintenance program for our collection system:

1. Identifying areas that need root control and start neighborhood root control programs with our homeowners

2. Determining how often each section needs cleaning and setting up a time schedule for each section

3. What repairs we need to do now to prevent major backups down the road? What can we plan for in the coming year?

4. How do we improve our maintenance program to better protect the system and our customers?

5. How do we design new systems better for future maintenance procedures?