Watershed Health & Protection

Water is one of Colorado’s most valued resources. Eagle River Water & Sanitation District and Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority customers use over two billion gallons of water annually. Most of this water is returned to the Gore Creek and Eagle River Watersheds, which together encompass 1046 square miles. The District and Authority have forged partnerships with stakeholders, government agencies, non-profit groups, and experts in water resources and water quality to ensure source water protection and health of the Gore Creek and Eagle River Watersheds. However, it is up to each of us to help protect our streams, rivers, lakes, and watersheds by using water wisely and in ways that will not harm aquatic life, wildlife, and other water users downstream.

The District has led and participated in monitoring and water quality assessment efforts over the last 30 years. These ongoing efforts are needed to develop and support water resources planning, management, and stewardship strategies that are scientifically based. Building upon previous studies, the District chose to participates in the Water Quality Control Division’s (WQCD) data collection effort and continues today, in cooperation with the WQCD, the US Forest Service, and USGS.

Individuals can help protect our watershed simply by conserving water and properly disposing of household hazardous waste.  Becoming involved with one of the many local watershed or habitat protection groups is an option for those who want to do more. Business customers of the District can do their part by checking out our Industrial Pretreatment page and following the guidelines in place for discharge of pollutants into the sewer system. More and more people are working to improve and protect the Eagle River Watershed by educating themselves, sharing information with their neighbors, restoring water quality where needed, and planning for the future of our water.


Pollutants and contaminants are not the first things that come to mind when we think of the mountains and rivers of Eagle County. However, even in our relatively pristine environment, threats to our waters are present.  Examples are:

  • Metals from mining and abandoned mine sites.
  • Tanker truck spills of fuel or industrial chemicals.
  • Traction sand used on highways in the winter.

The Eagle River Watershed Council and the Black Gore Steering Committee are two organizations that are active in watershed protection efforts. The District participates and cooperates with these organizations to contribute to efforts protecting our waterways.


Cans of paint, cleaners, chemicals, or other toxic materials stored in your home can be a risk to people and the environment if disposed of improperly. Paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides are examples of common household hazardous wastes that need special disposal. 

Do not pour hazardous waste down the drain. Household hazardous waste products dumped down the drain are often not removed by the wastewater treatment process. Harmful chemicals from these wastes can end up in rivers, creeks and lakes. Additionally, pouring hazardous waste down the drain can endanger the health of municipal workers, disrupt the wastewater treatment process, and accumulate pollutants in aquatic ecosystems. 

Protection of human health and the environment is everyone’s concern, and it is very important to ensure that hazardous wastes are safely stored, handled and disposed of properly. Minimizing the hazardous waste in our home can help reduce the impact on the environment. Here are some suggestions: 

  • Compare labels and ingredients when purchasing a product; if a less toxic product will work just as well, buy it. 
  • Buy only the quantity you need for the job. If there is none left over, there is no waste to dispose of. 
  • Use products according to label directions – more is not necessarily better. 
  • Consider non-toxic alternatives such as a metal snake to clear a drain instead of a chemical drain cleaner. 
  • Never mix cleaning products – dangerous reactions can occur. 
  • Eagle County has more information on proper disposal of household hazardous waste or contact the Eagle County Solid Waste Manager at (970) 328-3471.