Wastewater Projects and Facilities
Changes are underway for the Cherokee Metropolitan District’s form of wastewater treatment. The District’s current aerated lagoon system is located south of Highways 24/94 and west of Peterson Road. This facility has a surface water discharge that is directed to the East Fork of Sand Creek.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Water Quality Control Division’s stream standards have continually become more stringent. As a result, the District’s most recent permit renewal contains a compliance schedule that calls for greatly enhanced levels of treatment. Given the nature of the District’s existing facility and the new treatment requirements, a major change of treatment method(s) is required.
With stricter standards, increased urbanization near the facility’s ponds and the ongoing concerns expressed by the Air Force and the Colorado Springs Airport for potential waterfowl conflicts with aircraft; the District has determined that a new location and treatment process is necessary. Additionally, there is a need to make more efficient use of the substantial amount of water resources that are being lost to the District through its discharge into Sand Creek, which a new location will afford an option not currently available.
The District currently provides wastewater treatment service to Schriever Air Force Base through an interconnecting 14-inch pipeline. This line has been sized so that Cherokee can reverse the flow in the main and pump its untreated wastewater to the east. The District purchased a quarter section of undeveloped land–165 acres–located north of Drennan Road and immediately east of Milne Road for the construction of a new mechanical wastewater treatment facility. The District’s compliance schedule established by the State Health Department has been modified to allow our current discharge to continue while we build a new facility at this location. The new facility has several advantages over the existing facility: providing significantly enhanced levels of treatment; eliminating the incompatibility of the current facility with the urbanized area; eliminating potential waterfowl conflicts and providing an opportunity for the District to effectively recover water resources currently being lost.
To help make the project cost effective, Cherokee has entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Meridian Service Metropolitan District (MSMD), whereby the MSMD will be a bulk wastewater user of the treatment facility. The MSMD will be required to pay a proportionate share in both the capital construction and operation costs of the facility. Cherokee will retain ownership of the facility, but the MSMD will fund 45.8% of the costs. This will achieve an economy of scale resulting in lower construction and operating costs for both Districts.
Cherokee is also working on a project to recapture the treated water flowdischarged from the treatment plant and transfer it to a Replacement Facility, located southeast of the wastewater treatment facility, yet within the UBS. At this location, it will be placed in a series of basins where it will naturally infiltrate the underlying sands and gravels, ultimately recharging the alluvial aquifer. This approach will allow the District to take advantage of not only the natural treatment occurring as the water passes through the sands and gravels, but it will also replenish the alluvial aquifer itself. This part of the project is considered crucial to ensure the long-term viability of the District’s current source of water in the UBS Aquifer.
The technology being used has been proven in many other communities throughout the Southwest and West Coast, but it will be a first in Colorado. This is an exciting time for Cherokee and its constituents as our water resources program takes treatment to a much higher level and we position ourselves to more effectively utilize our most valuable resource–water.
Please click here to view a slideshow of our progress.