Utilities – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 30 Jul 2020 18:46:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 http://www.pagosasun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/cropped-sun-logo-512x512-1-32x32.jpg Utilities – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com 32 32 Water production drops while rainfall increases http://www.pagosasun.com/water-production-drops-while-rainfall-increases/ Thu, 30 Jul 2020 21:00:25 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=208067 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

From July 17 through July 23 of this year, water production totaled 17.27 million gallons, more than 3 million gallons less than that same timeframe last year.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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LEAP application period closing July 31 http://www.pagosasun.com/leap-application-period-closing-july-31/ Sat, 25 Jul 2020 11:00:35 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207822 By Jane Dvorak
Low-income Energy Assistance Program

Colorado LEAP (Low-income Energy Assistance Program) will accept applications through July 31 as the annual benefit program begins to wind down the 2019-2020 funding period. LEAP is normally available Nov. 1 to April 30. This year, the application deadline was extended because of the increased need created by COVID-19. 

“These benefits are often the difference between buying groceries and needed prescriptions or having your heat bill go unpaid,” Kullen said. “We partner with other organizations to assist with additional emergencies like repairs and replacement.”

LEAP provides onetime heating assistance to individuals, families and older adults to help cover the cost of utility bills. Residents with an annual income up to 60 percent of the State Median Income and an individual household monthly income not exceeding $2,371/month or $4,561/month for a family of four may be eligible for benefits.

Applicants must also pay home heating costs to a landlord or utility company, meet the gross income limits, be residents of Colorado, and contain at least one United States citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S.

Applications are available through the end of July at Colorado PEAK or at Colorado LEAP. The website provides details about the application process and eligibility information.

For more information, call (866) HEAT-HELP [(866) 432-8435].

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Hot and dry summer leads to increased water production http://www.pagosasun.com/hot-and-dry-summer-leads-to-increased-water-production/ Thu, 23 Jul 2020 21:00:40 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207811 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

Water production totaled over 21 million gallons from July 10 through July 16 of this year, coming in at 21.07 million gallons.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Past, present and future of town’s geothermal system discussed by town council http://www.pagosasun.com/past-present-and-future-of-towns-geothermal-system-discussed-by-town-council/ Wed, 22 Jul 2020 11:00:19 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207499 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

A report on the town’s geothermal heating utility was provided to the Pagosa Springs Town Council at a regular meeting on July 7.

The geothermal heating system has been operated and owned by the town since December of 1982, according to Public Works Director Martin Schmidt.

The town put out a bid and Alan Plummer Associates Inc. was awarded with an assessment of the utility, Schmidt explained.

Currently, the geothermal system has 32 customers that range from a school to small residences, Schmidt explained

The geothermal system is fully operational and the town has not experienced any failures that would inhibit the utility to heat those that the town committed to heating, Schmidt added.

A report from Alan Plummer Associates Inc. Project Engineer Steve Omer done for the town touches on the system’s current conditions, capacity and expansion opportunities.

Existing conditions

For existing conditions, Schmidt explained that Omer analyzed the way in which the town runs the utility, looking at daily logs and current water rights that the town is using, among other things.

“We saw that we’re operating our heat exchanger at a potentially less than optimal rate. We could have 20 percent more salable heat per day,” Schmidt said.

The town is using about 3.4 miles of distribution and return lines for the geothermal system. These lines include plastic, steel, copper and asbestos-reinforced concrete, according to Schmidt. 

Half of the system has insulated piping, but the return half does not, he added, noting, “We don’t have a good understanding as to why it was designed that way. We’d like to see more insulation.”

A private well showed “significant damage” according to Omer’s report, which the town could look into repairing or making the private well owner aware of the damage, Schmidt noted.

System capacity

According to Schmidt, about 75 percent of the transferred heat is lost and not sold to customers just due to “Mother Earth.”

“We don’t really have massive leaks of water or any of those things. At this point, 3.4 miles of lines we lose about a gallon a minute due to leaks,” he said. “When you consider that there’s a rubber gasket every 4 or 5 feet in the system, that’s pretty good to only lose a gallon over that distance. It’s not through leaking water, it’s just Mother Earth stealing heat out of our pipe.”

Most of the town’s pipes, valves and meters are in good shape, but the town’s heat exchanger has not seen a “real service.”

According to Omer’s report, the town’s heat exchanger was in its “final tolerances” of the gaskets that keep it in operation, and Omer advises that the heat exchanger should be serviced.

Specifically, Omer explained during the meeting that the issue for the gaskets is compression.

“We could heat more houses if we used more water, and currently, we’re not using about 100 gallons per minute water right out of the Rumbaugh well,” Schmidt said. “The issue is, we don’t have piping right now from the Rumbaugh well to our geothermal building.”

Schimdt noted that the town is not in danger of losing that water right, but the town must show use.

Expansion opportunities 

One idea for an expansion opportunity was to cool homes in the summer with the geothermal piping using river water, Schmidt noted.

“When you actually look at the river data, the average temperature of the river through the summer months is 63 and a half degrees, and 63 and a half degrees doesn’t give us enough of a difference,” he said. 

Another expansion opportunity looked into by Omer was the limits of the geothermal system and how many more customers the town could add to the system.

“We found that we could not add a customer like the high school. Just the high school would overwhelm the system …” Schmidt said.

Agenda documentation further explains, “The school district had asked the Town to look into connecting the high school to geothermal heat, but it was quickly determined that the geothermal utility does not have enough available heat to support the high school. Plummer recommends that the Town focus on new building heat connections on a smaller scale.”

Up to 13 more residential customers could be added or nine more mixed-use customers, according to Omer’s report.

“One of the things pointed out is that sidewalk and parking lot, intersection heating is a really variable heating use,” Schmidt said. “It’s a really big drain on the system. In order to guarantee we’re not going to have negative impacts on our customers, it was advised to steer away from sidewalks, intersections, parking lots, those kinds of things.”

The geothermal heat could also be used to produce power, according to Omer’s report.

“There’s the potential for an annual revenue of around $70,000,” he said. “It really depends on the reimbursement rate that LPEA [La Plata Electric Association] would give us.”

This would strip about 10 degrees from the outflow from the geothermal system and produce electricity that would be stored in batteries and put back into the grid, Schmidt described.

“The idea is that you could put it back on when LPEA would need it during peak use,” he said. 

This could produce up to 1,634 megawatt hours per year, according to Schmidt.

However, the unit cost for a test unit for a thermal energy storage system unit is about $800,000, which would take about 12 years to pay off at the approximate rate of $70,000 per year, Schmidt explained, noting that there could be grants the town could pursue.

“Our current system is generally working well and it’s been sustained for this 40 years, but we’re looking at the end of the lifespan, both for our Transite pipe, for the heat exchanger if we don’t do any service to it and generally we need to keep an eye out for the aging issues in the heat supply system,” he said. “It’s pretty clear and staff is aware that a lot of these amounts of money are more than the geothermal system can sustain so we would need to look for other funding opportunities.”

Doing a 3.4-mile pipe replacement with polyethylene raised temperature insulated pipe would cost about $4 million, Schmidt noted.

Heat exchanger maintenance would cost about $35,180, Schmidt noted, adding that a lot of the other actions have unknown costs at this time.

“We’re going to have some more in-depth discussions and talk about what this means for our capital budget, because obviously, we can’t do a full replacement of the system as is recommended,” Town Manager Andrea Phillips said during the meeting. “We’re anticipating that a lot of this will be discussed during our capital budgeting process during 2021 and beyond.”

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One local lake full this week, water production remains over 20 million gallons http://www.pagosasun.com/one-local-lake-full-this-week-water-production-remains-over-20-million-gallons/ Fri, 17 Jul 2020 15:02:10 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207511

SUN photo/Shari Pierce
The San Juan River running through downtown Pagosa Springs provides a source of recreation despite recent low levels. The river had a reported flow of 30.7 cfs Wednesday morning, with the average for July 15 being 308 cfs.

By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

As of Monday, only one local lake remained full, according to a press release from Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District Manager Justin Ramsey.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Judge rules in favor of LPEA’s request for exit charge to be let out of contract http://www.pagosasun.com/judge-rules-in-favor-of-lpeas-request-for-exit-charge-to-be-let-out-of-contract/ Fri, 17 Jul 2020 14:53:58 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207507 By John Finefrock
Staff Writer

A Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) judge has ruled that Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s refusal to identify an exit charge to let La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) out of its contract was “unjust and unreasonable” and “discriminatory.”

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Options presented for replacing town sewer lines http://www.pagosasun.com/options-presented-for-replacing-town-sewer-lines/ Fri, 17 Jul 2020 14:40:37 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207493 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

A phased replacement plan for sewer lines within the Town of Pagosa Springs was discussed by the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District (PSSGID) at a regular meeting on July 7.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-230/ Thu, 16 Jul 2020 21:00:36 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207469 The following meetings are subject to change.

Tuesday, July 21

Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m. Call 264-8300 one to two days before the meeting to obtain the login information.

Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m. Call 264-8300 one to two days before the meeting to obtain the login information.

C-STAT Distinguished Performance Award by state of Colorado to Archuleta County Department of Human Services team. 3 p.m. Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St. and via Google online. Call 264-8300 one to two days before the meeting to obtain the login information.

Thursday, July 23

Pagosa Springs Urban Renewal Authority meeting. 5 p.m. See town website for participation information.

Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m. See town website for participation information.

Tuesday, July 28

Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m. Call 264-8300 one to two days before the meeting to obtain the login information.

Upper San Juan Health Service District regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m. Join Zoom meeting: https://zoom.us/j/96904926293, meeting ID: 969 0492 6293 Phone in using: (346) 248-7799. 

Friday, July 31

Pagosa Springs Town Council work session. 5 p.m. See town website for participation information.

Monday, Aug. 3

Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.

Tuesday, Aug. 11

Archuleta School District Board of Education meeting. 6 p.m., virtual meeting. See the agenda on the district website for participation information.

Thursday, Aug. 13

Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District regular meeting. 5 p.m., 100 Lyn Ave.

Public meeting information should be sent to editor@pagosasun.com with “Public Meeting” in the subject line. The deadline is noon Monday each week prior to publication for that week’s issue.

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Water production again over 20 million gallons http://www.pagosasun.com/water-production-again-over-20-million-gallons/ Thu, 09 Jul 2020 21:00:38 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207106 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

From June 26 through July 2 of this year, total water production again reached over 20 million gallons, according to a press release from Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District Manager Justin Ramsey.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District receives clean audit for 2019 http://www.pagosasun.com/pagosa-area-water-and-sanitation-district-receives-clean-audit-for-2019/ Thu, 09 Jul 2020 21:00:14 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207073 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) received an unmodified opinion for its 2019 financial statements at its regular meeting on June 25.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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