Ken Brenner: Clean Water Act anniversary


The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 became the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972 as concerns about water pollution led to significant amendments to the old legislation. The CWA established regulations for the discharge of wastewater and other pollutants into the waters of the United States. It also set water quality standards for surface water pollution and funded the construction of wastewater treatment plants.

Today, everyone living in the Yampa Valley values our abundance of clean water coming off the Continental Divide. Compared to many places, the Yampa River basin is an unspoiled gem of a water supply. What are we doing to ensure that future generations will enjoy the same pristine water supply? I am asking that we support a proposal to conduct a comprehensive, Yampa River Upper Basin groundwater baseline analysis.

A recent proposal to the Routt County Board of Commissioners by the U.S. Geological Survey would use almost 100 locations throughout the upper basin to provide a scientific study of current groundwater conditions. In the past few years, the USGS has worked with Routt County, Steamboat Springs, Mount Werner Water, the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District and the Morrison Creek Water and Sanitation District to assess the current surface water conditions in the upper basin and to establish an ongoing monitoring program. Thanks to all of those involved. Remember that the USGS is a scientific agency, not a regulatory agency. They produce high quality, reliable scientific data, not rules.

A comprehensive groundwater study would identify any current or pre-existing groundwater quality issues and give us a baseline to measure any changes that might occur in the future. It will protect all those future users of the valley’s natural resources and allow us to hold accountable those who might diminish the quality of our most valuable natural resource.

Past generations of ranchers, recreationists and the mining interests have respected the Yampa Valley waters. Join me in urging our Board of Commissioners to work with the USGS and form a coalition of those who want to add groundwater quality to the ongoing surface water quality baseline effort in the Yampa Valley.

Ken Brenner

Steamboat Springs


kathy foos 4 years, 5 months ago

That is really good news....I hope it happens,I have a well and it would be worth it to me to pay a fee for this program.


mark hartless 4 years, 5 months ago

A reasonable suggestion, no doubt.

However, A snapshot of a man walking does not tell whether he is walking forward or backwards. Any two points can form a straight line. Putting the third and subsequent points down in perfect alignment is what takes skill.

It will take several measurements over a period of time to tell the important story, NOT where the water quality IS, but which direction it is headed. If it is already headed down, a one-time test followed by just one additional test will indicate degradation. Blaming that degradation on any one thing (like energy production) without knowing the already established "trajectory" of the water quality will be poor "science".

Lest you think that approach can't fool fools, I refer you to "global warming" which had to be changed to "climate change" after such a trajectory became indisputable.


brian kofke 4 years, 5 months ago

How about we get the fluoride out of the water; it is industrial waste from a phosphate fertilizer company in Florida. Don't believe me? Look it up!


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