March 1, 2003


            Last month we used this page as a survey to identify sampling locations for lead and copper testing. We want to thank you for your overwhelming response to that survey, and to explain the need for it a little more clearly.

            A few of you have expressed concern over the survey, wondering if it means we are in violation of regulations, or if your plumbing is poisoning you. Neither is the case. All water systems must conduct lead and copper testing regularly. In the past, that requirement has been satisfied by the testing program of the Town of Cedaredge. However, with plans to separate from the Town and provide our own water treatment, we will need to implement our own lead and copper program.

            After we have tabulated all the responses, we will notify those of you who will probably be used as test sites. The program will not begin until we are actually delivering water from our own treatment plant, which is a year or more in the future. Meanwhile, if you are concerned or curious about the level of lead and copper in the water at your house and wish to have a test done earlier, contact us and we can help you arrange for tests, which cost around $30.

            Lead and copper tests are not a pass/fail situation. If the level of lead or copper exceeds what is called an “action level,” then the water system must increase its sampling frequency to determine if the problem is ongoing and system-wide, or just an isolated case. If it is determined to be a system-wide problem due to corrosive water, then treatment must be applied to reduce the water’s tendency to eat plumbing. We do not anticipate that kind of problem.

            March is the last month of “free” water. We never read meters in the winter, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is inconvenience. But we will start this month. April will be the first month for which you are billed according to your metered water use.

            March is also the month we conduct pipeline flushing, to rid the system of rust and sediment that accumulate over winter due to the low flow velocities. Flushing is necessary, but always causes annoying problems for you, like low pressure (or none at all), dirty water, and aerated (bubbly or milky) water. The reason March is chosen for this dirty deed is that we expect you will have to flush out your own system too, and you will have a chance to do it before the meters are read for the first time, to avoid unfair high billings.

            We plan to begin flushing March 10, and continue throughout that week. The sequence will be to start at the highest points on the system, in the Upper Surface Creek area, and work our way downhill. You can call us that week to find our when you are most likely to be affected, and how to deal with it. We will always recommend that you run some water outside to help rid your local pipes of dirt that did not find its way out at the flushing points. Sorry, but there’s just no other way. Your kind indulgence is appreciated, as always.