Water Authority authorizes system supply improvements

Action on Mountain Star and Traer Creek water storage tanks: Water Authority authorizes improvements to increase water system supply.


The Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority at its January board meeting came a few steps closer to restoring adequate water storage tank capacity in the Avon, Eagle-Vail, and Traer Creek portion of their service area.


One item concerned the Mountain Star water storage tank, which has been the subject of much discussion over the last few years among the Mountain Star property owners, the town of Avon, and the Water Authority. Pursuant to a 1993 Agreement with Avon when the subdivision was originally approved, a storage tank was to be constructed at a future date when U.S. Forest Service land was obtained. The then existing Avon Metro District agreed that it would collect tap fees from homes that were built and served by a somewhat temporary water supply system until a permanent storage tank could be constructed.


The Water Authority acquired the necessary Forest Service property in May 2013 as part of the complex, multi-year Eagle Valley Land Exchange agreement. The tank has been preliminarily designed by the Authority and the Authority has funded some $2.2 million for the site acquisition and increase in pumping capacity with associated pump station improvements. The Water Authority has also committed to pay $135,000 toward the upgrade of the tank to a longer lasting, less maintenance dependent facility.


The Water Authority and town of Avon have also moved to enforce water conservation measures that were originally agreed to for the area. The balance of the tank costs will be funded by the tap fees collected to date and by Mountain Star property owners.


The board also dealt with the failure of the 2–million-gallon water storage tank constructed by Traer Creek. The catastrophic failure occurred in May, two months after it was filled with water and placed into service. The cause of the failure is still under investigation by all parties involved, but preliminary findings indicate that failure to adequately remove unsuitable soil beneath the tank is to blame. Until the tank can be reconstructed, the reduction in water storage creates a limitation on supplying water to new taps.


The requirement for Traer Creek to construct a water storage tank to serve the water storage needs of the development dates to the 1990s. The Water Authority allowed some Traer Creek development to occur prior to tank construction because it could be served by excess storage capacity in the regional system. As growth continued on the valley floor, the need for the Traer Creek tank became more urgent so the Water Authority placed a moratorium on additional growth in Traer Creek until the tank could be built. By way of an agreement with Traer Creek, the Water Authority lifted the moratorium once the tank was completed. “The failure of the tank again puts the Authority at a limited capacity to serve,” stated Water Authority board chair George Gregory.


Current calculations indicate that only about 250 additional single family equivalent units (SFEs) can be served in the Avon, Eagle-Vail, and Traer Creek service area. Engineers have determined that with the construction of a down-loading valve that would allow water storage in other areas of the Authority to be made available to the valley floor area, an additional 620 SFEs could be approved. Accordingly, the Authority board authorized the installation of the additional valve at an estimated cost of under $400,000, while the liability for the tank failure and method of reconstruction is sorted out.


Gregory commented, “It is the goal of the Water Authority board and staff to keep adequate water storage available to this area until these tanks can come online.”


Contact: Jason Cowles, Planner: 970-477-5111