6:00am

Wed July 11, 2012
Environment

Protecting Northern Colorado Water After the Fires

With recent wildfires in northern Colorado now under control, the City of Greeley is focusing on protecting its drinking water supplies. This week the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service announced that it is awarding the city $500,000 to help mitigation efforts.

The city of Greeley plans to drop weed-free straw and wood mulch, and conduct aerial seeding on more than 600 acres of land scorched by the Hewlett and High Park wildfires. Recent heavy rains have pushed ash and sediment into the Poudre River – turning it black in some spots.

Greeley Water and Sewer director Jon Monson says that creates major issues for its water treatment plants.

“It’s going to be more expensive (to treat), and we may not have quite the quality of water that we like to have," he told KUNC in an earlier interview. "It’ll always be safe to drink – but may not be quite as good as we usually are used to.”

Monson says they’ve been preparing to conduct erosion mitigation ever since the Hewlett fire – but needed to wait until the High Park fire was contained before starting. Both Fort Collins and Greeley rely on the Poudre River for water.