Friday, August 1, 2014

Pueblo County riled up over SDS, again

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 3:49 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS UTILITIES
  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Utilities
Folks south of Colorado Springs had reason to again be upset about the Southern Delivery System, according to the Pueblo Chieftain.

Turns out, recent heavy rains have caused some washouts of the 66-inch pipe.

Here's the beginning of the editorial:
GARY WALKER’S prediction came true.

“Since 2008, we’ve told (Colorado Springs Utilities) that their pipeline is in the wrong place, but they wouldn’t listen,” Walker, who owns Walker Ranches, told The Chieftain on Monday.

He made his comments after heavy rains on Sunday night led to severe flooding and sink holes on his property. The damage formed along a scar left by the burial of the 66-inch diameter Southern Delivery System pipeline. About seven miles of pipe jut directly across a portion of Walker’s land, which is adjacent to Fort Carson and stretches to Interstate 25.
The piece goes on to quote a couple of Pueblo County commissioners.

In response, Utilities' Janet Rummel says this, via email:

After all major rain events, we assess the SDS construction sites and the alignment restoration areas. We work with all property owners including Mr. Walker to maintain those areas. Heavy rains can cause mud on the previous construction areas that have not yet had enough time to fully establish vegetation.

Following the heavy rains last weekend, our staff walked the entire 5.5-mile alignment across Walker Ranches to assess the condition of the restored/revegetated easement area. There are a number of natural drainages that cross the pipeline alignment that carry water when it rains. While the majority of the easement area is in good condition, a few areas did have some impacts from the rains.

We are working with our contractors to develop a plan to address those impacts as quickly as possible. We have been and continue to work with the Pueblo County staff to inform them of our response and to ensure our compliance with the 1041 permit conditions.
click to enlarge This photo was shot in 2010 as workers buried pipeline along Marksheffel Road. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • This photo was shot in 2010 as workers buried pipeline along Marksheffel Road.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, Springs Utilities reported that the project, which we've reported on over the years, including this 2010 story, is on time and under budget:
The Southern Delivery System (SDS) project now under construction is tracking about $147 million under budget. The project is projected to cost $841 million at completion in 2016 and water rate increases are lower than expected – with no additional SDS water rate increases anticipated for Phase I construction.

Cost savings are due largely to modifications in engineering plans that reduced building costs, competitive bidding and favorable interest rates.

By the end of 2014, the installation of all 50 miles of underground pipe needed for the project will be complete. The water treatment plant and three raw-water pump stations are well underway and construction on Constitution Avenue in El Paso County is tracking to be completed in September this year, ahead of schedule.

The trade magazine Water and Waste News July 2014 issue recounts many of the challenges SDS under took during construction, including the extensive outreach and communications activities that occur while constructing in residential areas, such as Pueblo West.

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