Talon News - Good Local News

By JACQUE Ritchie
TALON 

WATER RESERVE CONCERNS

#1 RESERVOIR IN AZTEC HIGH AND DRY

 

February 9, 2018

Jacque Ritchie, TALON

Outdoorsmen enjoy fishing for trout at the healthy and operational Tiger Park reservoir off Hwy 173

As noted by an astute TALON reader, Aztec reservoir number one is currently high and dry. A thick layer of sunbaked sediment and crispy dried grasses are all that remain in bottom of the old reservoir. According to Aztec Water and Waste Water Treament Plant Chief Operator Andrew Galloway, "When in use, the reservoir holds eight to ten acre feet (of water) however now because it's so full of mud there'd be displacement" Galloway estimated the last time the reservoir was 'dredged' was around 1998..."we are letting it dry out so we can get equiptment down there to do the job." Galloway said that engineering and testing company Geomat has submitted it's findings to the city that say conditions are currently favorable to begin clean-up and repairs. Galloway said not only does the reservoir need 'dredging' to remove tons of sedement, but the clay floor of the raw water tank has leaks and the city needs to lay-down an HDPE liner, like the one used in the pond at Riverside Park, "Also we need to build a new cement tower, (intake from reservoir to treatment plant) so there's a few things we need to do to fix it right, it's just a matter of getting the money."

According to the City of Aztec Infrastructure Capitol Improvement (ICIP) Plan for 2015-2019, work related to Reservoir Number One does not make the top five Ranking of an inventory of thirty proposed projects. The East Aztec Arterial ranks number one on the ICIP.

Galloway has worked with water utility in Aztec since the mid-1990's and said, this season's lack of snow is no reason for alarm as far as drinking water goes, "Though there has been very little snowfall and we have essentially no snow pack (in the San Juans) it is not yet an emergency...we had significant snowfall in February last year, that could happen again." Galloway said, "At winter-time consumption rates, we have 30 days of drinking water stored in reservoirs two and three."

Galloway reported the city's average winter-time consumption rate currently hovers between 400,000-600,000 gallons a day. Summertime water usage sky-rockets to 1.7--2.2 million gallons per day "That's a lot of water," says Galloway, "It's mostly due to people watering their grass and you know, they have flowers, or they plant a garden. Sometimes there are very big vegetable gardens, so of course... water use goes up in summer, and yeah, obviously people that use city water to water their yards will see it reflected in their bill."

Jacque Ritchie, TALON

Dried cracked earth filling Aztec wateOutdoorsmen enjoy fishing for trout at the healthy and operational Tiger Park reservoir off Hwy 173r reservoir 1- PHOTO J. RitOutdoorsmen enjoy fishing for trout at the healthy and operational Tiger Park reservoir off Hwy 173chie-TALON

Water from the Animas River, the Aztec Ditch system and the Lower Animas ditch system is pumped into the reservoirs and later into four seperate treatment plants for filtration before it is piped to homes and businesses in the city. Residents that use the ditch water system to water their lawns and gardens do not directly effect the cities reservoir levels.

Until 1951 Aztec property owners used well-water for their needs, since then Aztec has installed the three reservoirs. Two are located on either side of Hwy 173 just off Hwy. 550. The third reservoir is Tiger Pond located on the north end on The Old Spanish Trail. Tiger Pond has a 55.6 million gallon capacity and is the centerpiece of the Aztec Reservoir System.

Besides being the main holding tank for Aztec drinking water, Tiger Pond is a local fishing hole, no swimming is allowed. Reportedy, Tiger Pond has Rainbow Trout, Channel Cats and Fathead Minnows. When the TALON recently visited Tiger Pond, there were a few ducks floating around, about a dozen fisherman (some having good luck), a couple strollers, and some dogwalkers, (The use of the blue plastic dog-poop bags available at dispensers is STRONGLY reccommended). Tiger Park has an improved picnic area with covered tables, barbeques, a restroom, grassy slopes and walkways all around the pond.

 

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