Underground water keeps rising in town of Gilcrest, threatening property

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GILCREST, Colo.—Water is still a major issue in the town of Gilcrest on Highway 85, on the way to Greeley.

In June, we showed you how the rising water table under the town was causing problems at the sewage treatment plant. Huge bubbles were formed by water busting through the rubber bladders which line the treatment basins.

“We know this is a dangerous situation,” said Mayor Jeff Nelson. “We know 30 years ago the water table was 30 feet deep, but now the level has risen and is just one foot below the surface.”

That means there is water everywhere in the town and on farms around the town. One solution being floated by the state’s water guru, is to turn on irrigation wells in a seven mile radius around the town.

One developer, Paul Chacon, says he has built a small subdivision in the town and bought more land to construct even more homes. But with the sewer and rising water issues, those plans are on hold.

Glen Durant needs 13 sump pumps in his basement to keep dry, and says if anyone knows where the water is coming from, he needs to know, so he can send them the bill … a hefty bill.

So, while the town tries to get the sewage plant running safely again, questions about why irrigation wells, in fields around the town, aren’t turned on so underground water trying to flow into the South Platte can’t be drained away from homes and the town.

Letting farmers use the water to raise crops is also a possibility, but the state turned off the wells years ago, allowing ground water to build and build. Many say that is one big reason water is on the rise and why Mayor Nelson says, “We could be a lake if something isn’t done.”

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