By Lonnie Oversole, Water Plant Manager
Water restrictions for the 2012 irrigation season will again be on a voluntary basis. Citizens are encouraged to follow the same restrictions that had been in place in past years, which includes even/odd day watering and no watering between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Should you choose not to follow voluntary water restrictions, there will be no enforcement or penalty.
Keep in mind if you water during the heat of the day, you will loose 50% of the water you apply to evaporation, which is the reasoning behind not watering between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The even/odd day system has half the city watering on one day and the other half on the next day. This provides better water pressure for all customers and fire fighting personnel.
I would also like to take this opportunity to talk about routine bacteria sampling that occurs within the water distribution system. We are required, based on population, to take seven bacteria samples per month. The samples are taken at sites predetermined by a sampling plan. The plan contains twenty one routine sampling sites with seven alternate sites. If for some reason the routine site is not accessible, then an alternate site is used. The sampling each month is spread through out the system rather than being concentrated in a certain area. Each site by years end will have been tested four different times.
The water distribution system contains many miles of piping to get the treated water to our customers. Chlorine residual is maintained throughout the distribution system to assure a level of water quality. Chlorine levels are tested every time a bacteria sample is collected. Chlorine levels are also measured at every treatment point daily and at the surface water plant continuously. A predetermined site within the distribution system is also tested daily. The results of these samples are reported at city council meetings by the Deputy City Clerk.
Another important aspect to good water quality is maintenance of the distribution or piping system. The key element is a good flushing program. This part of system maintenance is often mistaken by the public as a waste of water. Flushing rids the system of accumulated sediment and discolored water. Flushing also gets rid of old water or water that’s been in the system for periods longer than normal. This can occur in areas with lower usage or dead end lines. Getting old water out of the system reduces the potential associated with the formation of disinfection by products.
The city is currently flushing hydrants twice per year – in the spring prior to peak water usage and again in fall when usage begins to drop off. Based on data recorded during flushing in past years, less water is being used to flush twice per year than was used when hydrants were flushed annually.
The snow pack through out Colorado is well below the normal average for this time of year. If the hot summer days yield little moisture in the form of afternoon showers, there is a good possibility that mandatory water restrictions could be implemented by summers end.