DENVER — Gov. Hickenlooper announced state grants totaling $14.7 million to improve 21 municipal waste-water and sanitation districts throughout Colorado Friday.
The money will be used to assist with planning, design and construction of facility improvements to meet new nutrient standards.
“Coloradans in rural and urban areas will benefit from these new water standards that improve and protect our water,” Hickenlooper said. “This grant funding will help communities offset the costs of bringing their systems into compliance. In addition, the grants announced today will help ensure safe and healthy water for wildlife, agriculture, recreation and drinking water purposes.”
Colorado’s Water Quality Control Commission has adopted new standards to reduce the amount of unhealthy nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, from entering state waters.
These new regulations mandate that larger domestic waste-water treatment facilities adhere to discharge limits for nutrients.
An overabundance of nutrients damage bodies of water by encouraging algae blooms that consume oxygen, kill aquatic organisms and ultimately lead to smaller populations of game and fish.
Some nutrients are naturally occurring, but excessive amounts can have devastating effects.
The Nutrient Grant Program will help waste-water facilities with the costs of planning for, designing and implementing system improvements.
Funding for the program was made available through HB13-1191 “Nutrient Grant Domestic Waste-water Treatment Plant,” sponsored by Reps. Randy Fischer and Ed Vigil and Sens. Gail Schwartz and Angela Giron.
There about 400 municipal waste-water systems in Colorado. The new nutrient standards apply to about 40 systems and will have the greatest impact on the waters of the state.