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Fraser augmentation ponds almost complete

by Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News

The two augmentation ponds on the east side of U.S. Highway 40 in Fraser are nearing completion.

Bruce Hutchins, manager of Grand County Water and Sanitation District No. 1, expects the ponds to be constructed by the end of the year, and possibly filled with water by that time. That depends, however, on the state engineer’s office, which needs to conduct a leak test before the ponds are converted.

If the test is not conducted this year, the ponds will most likely be filled by July next year, Hutchins said. The leak test is to ensure that groundwater does not seep into the ponds.

The two ponds will hold 150 acre-feet of water, and will be used as substitution water for the district. The entire project cost $60,000, and is funded through the district’s taxpayers and a $60,000 grant from the Colorado River Water Conservation District.

The grant was used toward the design and construction of the project.

“The reason we’re building them is to supplement flows in the Fraser River so we can continue to divert at our wastewater treatment plants during times of low flow and drought conditions,” Hutchins explained. “It helps the river out, keeps flows in the river below the ponds.

“The ponds in no way pave the way for more development,” he added.

The project has been five years in the making; the two ponds were once three lagoons used as a wastewater treatment plant for the district. They were decommissioned by the state and excavated, and will eventually be converted into two water storage ponds. Construction should be completed this year, depending on weather, Hutchins added.

The ponds are located in the town of Fraser, but the district owns the property. Jeff Durbin, town manager of Fraser, said the town is interested in turning the ponds into something like the Lions Ponds, which are augmentation ponds for the Winter Park West Water and Sanitation District. The town is currently looking into a lease for the recreational rights for the site, so it can cover liability issues.

“It’s surrounded by Cozens Ranch open space, so there’s recreation all around them,” Durbin said. “We have no specific plans (yet), but obviously fishing, hiking . . .”

Hutchins said he supported Fraser’s plans to turn the ponds into some type of recreational site.


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