‘Flush factor’ shows more people in town | VailDaily.com

‘Flush factor’ shows more people in town

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – There’s all kind of data that tries to estimate how busy the local resort industry is this season, but some of the most telling data could be in local toilets.

The flush factor shows us how many millions of gallons of wastewater is treated everyday at the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District’s three wastewater treatment plants in Avon, Edwards and Vail. The numbers aren’t an exact science in terms of showing how many people are in town, but they’re a good – and kind of funny – indicator.

In a small sample showing treated water from Dec. 15-20, the three plants treated a combined total of 26,810,000 gallons of wastewater. It equates to about 268,100 people over the six-day period, or about 44,683 people daily from Edwards to Vail.

The equation that one person accounts for 100 gallons per day is an estimate, as Eagle River Water and Sanitation District spokeswoman Diane Johnson said there are many other factors that go into the wastewater measurements and the amount of water generated can’t be exactly measured in terms of people.

But, the wastewater plants are reporting that it’s busy, Johnson said. There has been “an uptick since last weekend,” and compared to the same dates in 2010 there appears to be more wastewater going through the system.

The Water District operators are ready for these spikes because of the nature of the valley as a resort destination. Wastewater plants with stable, year-round populations deal with a much more constant flow of wastewater, whereas the valley’s flows are up and down.

“District operators prepare for daily fluctuations in watewater flow rates– especially from now until after New Year’s,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the daily operations can change quite a bit as people arrive in town and use water for everything from bathing to cooking to going to restaurants or spas. It all goes down toilets, sink and shower drains and into the sanitary sewer system for treatment at either the Vail, Avon or Edwards plants, Johnson said.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

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