March 20, 2009

Bailey-Conifer water pipeline plan may hit permit delays
Park County and Corp of Engineers require permits before construction begins

Mike Potter
Staff Writer

The proposed water pipeline between Bailey and Conifer could be delayed as additional permits might take longer than expected to obtain.

John McMichael, the managing partner for Conifer Water LLC, the company that is planning the pipeline, said he would have to get approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and obtain a 1041 water permit from Park County before work would begin.

In late February, McMichael had said construction on the $24 million pipeline might begin this summer.

The water pipeline, consisting of two eight-inch-diameter pipes, would carry water from the North Fork of the South Platte River in Bailey to Conifer. That water would be piped into subdivision water districts for consumption, and wastewater would be treated at the subdivisions' water treatment facilities and returned to the river.

McMichael said Conifer Water has had conversations with Park County Development Services Coordinator Tom Eisenman, and it will be submitting the paperwork for the 1041 application soon.

An application also must be submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers about the water diversion, but McMichael said it wouldn't be submitted until the design of the project is completed.

"We can't start construction without the 1041 permit or the Corps of Engineers permit," he said.

He expressed confidence that approval from the Corps of Engineers wouldn't take long once the application is submitted, but he said it could take some time for the Park County 1041 permit to be approved.

Eisenman called the project "very ambitious" and said the length of time it would take to go through the 1041 water permit process would depend on the content of the application McMichael submits.

"Given [Conifer Water LLC's] resources, we'll see how it plays out," he said.

McMichael said he was hoping to have the 1041 permit in place around 100 days after the application was submitted.

Margaret Langworthy, project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said she couldn't offer an estimate about how long approval from the Corps of Engineers would take until a design is presented.

"Not knowing the extent and magnitude of the work, I cannot comment on how long it would take for the depth of review necessary [to make a decision on the project]," she said.

The pipeline would draw 2.9 cubic feet (or 21.692 gallons) of water per second from the North Fork of the South Platte River.

Langworthy said the Corps of Engineers is concerned about potential impacts in Park and Jefferson counties.

"Our concern would be the total impact of the route," she said. "So even though [the] Park County 1041 [permit] might approve everything, we would look at other things than just what happens in Park County."

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