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Drinking Water


The Eagle River Water & Sanitation District (District) and the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority (Authority) treat ground and surface water to provide safe, reliable drinking water for local communities. The high quality groundwater in the Eagle River and Gore Creek watersheds requires minimal treatment while surface water requires more treatment in order to remove impurities. The District and Authority use a variety of drinking water treatment processes most effective for the type and quality of the source waters treated. Once water is treated in one of our state-of-the-art facilities, it travels to your home or business for your use and enjoyment.  

Drinking Water Treatment Facilities

The Eagle River Water & Sanitation District (District) operates two of the most complex public water systems in Colorado . Our location poses many challenges to treating and distributing water to customers, including wide variations in seasonal water demands, limited space for facilities, and rugged topography. The District and Authority provide drinking water to customers in Vail, EagleVail, Arrowhead, Avon, Beaver Creek, Bachelor Gulch, Edwards and Cordillera. Drinking water is provided to customers via a complex network of pipes, tanks and pumping stations called a distribution system. An interconnecting pipeline connects the District’s and Authority’s systems and allows for water transfer between Vail and the communities west of Vail. 

The District and Authority are staffed 24 hours per day, 365 days per year by Water Treatment Operators certified by the State of Colorado under Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guidelines.  

Water used for processing drinking water is drawn from surface sources and subsurface aquifers. Finished water, or water treated for human consumption, enters the distribution system and is delivered to tanks by pumps located throughout the valley. From there, water is distributed to residences and businesses throughout the valley. 

Drinking Water Sources

The District and the Authority have numerous high quality natural water sources for drinking water. The water treated from sources open to the atmosphere (such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs) is known as surface water. Water pumped from wells drilled into underground aquifers - geologic formations containing water - is called groundwater.

  • Eagle River - provides surface water for the Avon Drinking Water Facility and Edwards Drinking Water Facility. 
  • Gore Creek - supplies surface water to the Gore Valley Drinking Water Facility in east Vail. 
  • Alluvial Aquifer of Gore Creek - the source water supply for all of the District groundwater wells. 
  • Fenno Well Field -  a seasonal and emergency back-up supply to groundwater wells in the Cordillera Development. 
  • Eagle River Aquifer - a seasonal groundwater source to the Authority groundwater well system. 

Drinking Water Quality

The Eagle River Water & Sanitation District and the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority are public water systems regulated under the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The District and Authority are committed to providing safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water to their customers.

Efforts are continuously made to protect and improve source water, use advanced drinking water treatment technologies, and use innovative approaches for the management of water operations and water resources. The District and Authority strive to effectively integrate drinking water source protection, treatment, and distribution in order to protect public health and the environment.

On an annual basis, public water systems must provide a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), which details the quality of their drinking water. Learn more about your drinking water on the Annual Consumer Confidence Reports page.

Common Sources of Pollution 
The water from surface and groundwater sources undergoes drinking water treatment. Drinking water treatment removes contaminants that occur both naturally and through human activities, so that all drinking water complies with strict Federal standards. Generally, surface water systems require more treatment because they are exposed to the atmosphere and runoff from precipitation and melting snow.

Source Water Protection 
In 2021, the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District and other community stakeholders completed the Gore Creek Watershed Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP). The SWPP identifies best management practices to further protect the watershed and minimize potential contaminate threats to the source water.

Law Governing Safe Drinking Water 
Public water providers like the District and the Authority are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). It is reasonable to expect that drinking water contains at least small amounts of some contaminants. As discussed above, public drinking water is regulated under the SDWA, which establishes limits for contaminants.

Household Wells 
While the EPA regulates public water systems, it does not have the authority to regulate private wells. For more information about ensuring the protection and maintenance of private wells, visit the EPA website or call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.