Will-O-Wisp gets final permits for Elk Creek water
Construction of water diversion project to begin this summer or fall
By Lynda James
The Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District near Pine Junction has received the last two permits needed to construct a water diversion from Elk Creek to provide surface water to the district. Currently, the district relies on a well field to provide water.
Those permits are a Section 404 from the Army Corps of Engineers and a Section 401 Water Quality Certification from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Water Quality Control Division.
The Will-O-Wisp subdivision is located just west of Pine Junction on the south side of U.S. 285. Elk Creek is located about three miles north of the subdivision.
An Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit authorizes Will-O-Wisp to construct facilities in the creek and wetlands. The permit is for three years. Will-O-Wisp may apply for an extension if needed.
The permit states that 1.29 acres of wetlands will temporarily be impacted during construction and that 1.23 acres must be restored. The permit details how disturbance to the creek, wetlands and uplands must be restored.
The restored area must be monitored for five years or until the Corps determines the restoration was successful.
About 120 houses are in the district’s boundaries. Once the Tanglewood Reserve Planned Unit Development, which is also in the district’s boundaries, is built-out, the district will need water for 570 taps.
In order to minimize impacts to Elk Creek, two conditions were placed on the 404 permit.
1. The district will install flow-monitoring devices upstream of the diversion and at the pump station. The flow rates and storage tank fillings will be reported to the Corps on a weekly basis when flows drop to 2.8 cubic feet per second.
When flow rates fall below 2.8 cfs, the district must adjust the amount of water diverted, according to Park County’s 1041 permit that was issued several years ago. The district must maximize the use of its water storage facilities at that time.
When Elk Creek flows fall below 1.0 cfs, the district will be limited to diverting 65 percent of the water allowed under Park County’s 1041 permit.
2. Before the 251st additional house can be built, the district must construct a storage reservoir.
This will ensure that Will-O-Wisp has adequate water storage at build-out to minimize drawing down Elk Creek, according to the permit.
Until the reservoir is built, Will-O-Wisp must maximize the use of existing wells and storage tanks to meet the demand for water.
Colorado’s Section 401 Certification is incorporated into the Corps’ 404 permit and addresses water-quality standards that must be met.
Water-quality monitoring devices must be installed upstream of the diversion and downstream before the fishing ponds at Shaffers Crossing owned by Ron Lewis.
The permit outlines what substances will be monitored as well as stream water conditions such as water temperature and pH, a measure of the acidity or basicity of the water.
Water-quality monitoring must take place for five years after completion of the diversion and be sent to Colorado’s Water Quality Control Division.
If water quality falls below standards, the district must report within 10 days the nature of the shortfall and reasons for it, the relationship between the project and the failure to meet standards, contributors other than Will-O-Wisp, and measures taken to correct the problem.
Rick Angelica, president of the metropolitan district, told The Flume that the district is awaiting the final construction time-line from its engineer, but construction of the water diversion project will begin sometime this summer or early fall.
In a press release, Angelica said that the approval of the 404 permit by the Corps of Engineers is a “big step forward in the District’s ability to use their Court Decreed second source of water [Elk Creek]” to ensure the district’s water supply.
The release also noted that information on the 404 permit can be found at www.Will-O-Wisp.net.
The construction is divided into three phases: the diversion facilities; the pump station and pipeline up Mount Evans Boulevard to the district boundaries; and an additional water storage tank and water treatment facilities plus the piping needed to supply district users.
Angelica said the in-stream facilities should take about a month to complete. Before construction can begin, a ditch will be dug on the left side of the creek and water diverted to the ditch so the creek can continue to flow downstream during construction.
The pipeline to the pump station will take another month to 45 days to complete.
Angelica estimated the pump station and piping along Mount Evans Boulevard should take about one year to complete.
The storage tank, treatment facilities and related pipeline should take an additional year to complete. Angelica estimated the total time frame of construction of all the needed infrastructure to be three years.
Angelica said all time frames are preliminary and could change some when the district receives the final construction schedule.
In addition, he said, the sewage treatment facilities in the district will also be updated and enlarged to accommodate the additional sewage discharges. That must be finished before the 60th house can be completed.
According to Angelica, the district had approached Park County about buying a county-owned 10-acre lot in the district close to the current sewage treatment plant for the new sewage facilities. But the price of $135,000 was more than the district could afford.
Angelica said the new facility will need about an acre and a half. Therefore, a portable treatment facility will be brought in and used while the district builds a new sewage treatment facility on the site where the current one is located.
(Map above) Will-0-Wisp Metropolitan District recently received both federal and state permits to divert water from Elk Creek to provide surface water to the district. The district currently operates on a well field. This map shows the location of the water diversion facilities on Elk Creek and the associated pipeline and pump station that will be constructed. The diversion point is shown on the right side of the map on Lot 133, Woodside Park, Unit Five. The pump station located on Lot 134. From there water will be pumped up Mount Evans Boulevard to the district.
(Map above) This drawing shows the diversion facilites that will be constructed by Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District on Elk Creek. The creek bed at the top of the drawing will be dug deeper, then lined with rock and an impermeable 60-milliner. Three infiltration pipes (shown on the left) will draw water from the rock bed under the creek. The pipe on the right will draw water from the creek. The pipeline that will take water to the pump station is shown along the bottom. The circle is the location of a manhole to monitor and occasionally remove the sediment build-up that is filtered from the water before it is travels to the pump station. (Maps courtesy of Will-0-Wisp’s Army Corps of Engineer’s Section 404 permit document)
(Complete Corp of Engineers Application)
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