Letter from the Pinewood Springs Water Board

The Pinewood Springs Water District is, like everyone else, elated about the opening of US 36 between Lyons and Estes Park.  The residents along US 36 have had to deal with inconvenience and limited access while work on US 36 was underway.  It should be noted that US 36 was opened so quickly at the expense of many other infrastructure projects that were delayed in order to limit traffic while the highway was under repair.  Century Link, for example, could not get to much of their damaged equipment due to the travel restrictions.  It was also difficult for the local districts to get materials in and out of the area.  One should be very careful when saying that US 36 is open so: “Why isn’t my water on?”, or “Why isn’t my phone working?”, or “Why can’t I get to my house?”.  The opening of US36 will facilitate the repairs to these other utilities and is a major step in our return to normalcy.

Historically, buried utilities, while more expensive to put in, are less apt to fail due to most weather-related issues.  Unfortunately, the September flooding was an exception to this buried-utility rule.  The Water District’s water lines are buried of necessity and were destroyed by the flooding where they crossed the river.  The Water District also sustained damage to the water treatment plant and the raw water intake system along the river.

Since the water treatment capacity is currently about half of what is required, the Water District has asked residents to cut back on their water usage as much as possible.  Despite these requests, some residents have continued to use water at elevated rates.  This impacts all of the Water District customers and could cause severe water shortage problems as more residents move back into their homes.  If voluntary conservation does not sufficiently curb usage, the District may need to impose mandatory restrictions.  It may also be necessary to haul water if usage continues to exceed production capability.

Many people have asked to help Carl and the Water District in order to speed up repairs to the water system.  Residents have helped with much of the cleanup at the treatment plant and other things.  These offers are much appreciated, however more people working on things would actually make things more difficult to oversee and control.  It is vital to the District that Carl be involved heavily in each of the repairs.  He is the one that will be responsible for the system after all repairs are complete.  We will let people know if we need additional assistance with anything.

As always, if you have any questions about water issues you can call the District at 303-823-5345.  Some people have recently reported problems when dialing this number (it is being forwarded), so you may also call 720-491-3994.

Pinewood Springs Water District issues

Treatment Plant

Water treatment capacity is reduced due to damage to the filtration system. We are able to produce about half of the normal amount of treated water.  A contract was awarded to repair the filtration system and it was hoped that we would be at full treatment capacity before the end of November.  However the contractor is now having difficulty getting the specific parts needed and is projecting that the parts will not be available until January.  There are no practical alternatives to increase production in the interim.

Distribution System

Three river crossings for water lines need to be made to restore water to all customers of the Water District.  These water crossings are at Kiowa near Crescent Lake; Cree Court; and Seneca.  The Water District obtained only one bid for doing the river crossings and it was exorbitant, even with FEMA assistance!  Other contractors declined to bid on the project(s).  These crossings are problematic because the river has changed course and left a whole new river bed to deal with.  Also, the river is flowing much more than is typical for this time of year (it’s ordinarily a trickle, if that).  In difficult terrain it is vital to coordinate the river crossings for the water lines with the road crossings.  We are working with Bladeworks (the contractor for the road crossings) to put in the water line at Kiowa and are projecting completion by mid-November.  Preparation for the Seneca crossing has begun and we are trying to locate a contractor to dig the trench across the river.

The Iroquois/Cree Court area is a much more complicated project and will not be able to be completed until next spring or summer.  To provide water to Cree Court this year, the District plans to place a line from what was the dead end on Iroquois to Cree.  This should be completed by mid-December, weather permitting.

Long term projects include the river crossing at Cree/Iroquois and connection of the water lines between the end of Cree and the end of Kiowa.

Infiltration Gallery and Raw Water Intake

The infiltration gallery and raw water intake along the river were damaged by the flooding.  These facilities allow us to pull raw water from the river to fill the reservoir and to treat for customer usage while the river is flowing.  The new course of the river also presents problems as to the location of the collection gallery.

The District has hired an engineer for this project and has completed a survey of the river.  We are currently working on plans for the replacement gallery and the screening structure.  This project phase requires Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) approval.

We will also need to move the river channel from its current location back to its original course and protect the raw water station.  This phase requires a permit and approval from the Army Corps of Engineers (COE).  The survey has been completed, however a resurvey may be needed since the road crew is moving material from this location to the road.

The District also needs to repair the damaged electrical service at the raw water pumping station and clean the station.  This is projected to start in December.

Once plans are in place, work on this project will be submitted for bids, with anticipated completion in spring or summer of 2014.

Water Board of Directors
Pinewood Springs Water District
303 823 5345


  1. Autumn
    Nov 12, 2013

    We can’t get a part to fix the filtration system until possibly JANUARY?! Is it made out of materials from outer space?!!! lol. Doesn’t seem right that even a custom part takes 2 months to build. It took them less than 2 months to rebuild an entire road system from Lyons to Estes. . . . . . .

    In all seriousness, Carl is just one person and yeah, he can do it all, but at the pace of one person (maybe 2!). I guess I just don’t understand why we didn’t bring in more help to expedite this issue? If we hired someone, he could have delegated the work, supervised, still been in the loop, etc.

    Does this all have to do with the price point? I would think FEMA should be assisting us with this crazy water situation. . .

    I actually feel GUILTY for wanting to move back, because I’ll be impeding the water supply of my neighbors. But FEMA has cut off my assistance, and I don’t have anywhere else to go, except my home. I just don’t understand why we only have one person working on it, and why a part would take 2 months to get in. I don’t know all the facts, but I do know I’m tired, and I just want to be able to come home, and this is the one piece of the puzzle that’s not fitting.

    • warren musselman
      Nov 14, 2013

      Carl is an utter god… Thor with a backhoe. Wish we had 4 of him….

  2. Dave Isenberg
    Nov 13, 2013

    I could not agree more. I believe Carl is working exceptionally hard for all our benefit and want to be clear that we are all VERY thankful for all his hard work.

    As for why it takes two months to get parts for the filtration system, it doesn’t make much sense to me either. Like everyone, we’re tired of living in temporary housing, and now that the roads are repaired, I’m sure FEMA will cut us off as well, leaving us out of pocket for the remaining months of rent until we can move back.

    I can’t help wondering if the company that manufactures these parts are merely putting us at the “back of the line” since it’s a small order and they make more money on other jobs. If we don’t know the whole story, maybe we could get the media involved and see if they can get us some answers that make sense? *shrug*

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