Water authority increases storage
February 7, 2016
VAIL — At its most recent board meeting, the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority came a few steps closer to restoring adequate water storage tank capacity in the Avon, Eagle-Vail and Traer Creek portion of its service area.
One item concerned the Mountain Star water storage tank, which has been the subject of much discussion over the last few years among Mountain Star property owners, the town of Avon and the water authority. Pursuant to a 1993 agreement with Avon when the subdivision was originally approved, a storage tank was to be built at a future date when U.S. Forest Service land was obtained. The then-existing Avon Metropolitan District agreed that it would collect tap fees from homes that were built and served by a somewhat temporary water supply system until a permanent storage tank could be built.
Preliminary Measures Taken
The Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority acquired the required property from the Forest Service in May 2013, as part of the Eagle Valley Land Exchange, a complex agreement that took years to complete. The tank has been preliminarily designed, and the authority has funded about $2.2 million for the site acquisition and increase in pumping capacity with associated pump station improvements. The authority has also committed to pay $135,000 toward the upgrade of the tank to a longer-lasting, less maintenance-intensive facility.
The Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority and the town of Avon have also moved to enforce water conservation measures that were originally agreed to for the area. The balance of the tank costs will be funded by tap fees collected to date and by Mountain Star property owners.
Traer Creek Failure
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The board also dealt with the failure of the 2–million-gallon water storage tank constructed by Traer Creek. The catastrophic failure occurred in May 2015, two months after it was filled with water and placed into service. The cause of the failure is still under investigation, but preliminary findings indicate that failure to adequately remove unsuitable soil beneath the tank is to blame. Until the tank can be reconstructed, the reduction in water storage creates a limitation on supplying water to new taps.
The requirement for Traer Creek to build a water storage tank to serve the water storage needs of the development dates to the 1990s. The authority allowed some Traer Creek development to occur prior to tank construction because it could be served by excess storage capacity in the regional system. As growth continued on the valley floor, the need for the Traer Creek tank became more urgent, so the authority placed a moratorium on additional growth in Traer Creek until the tank could be built. The authority lifted the moratorium once the tank was completed.
Current calculations indicate that only about 250 additional single-family-equivalent units can be served in the Avon, Eagle-Vail and Traer Creek service area. Engineers have determined that with the construction of a valve that would allow water storage in other areas of the authority's service area to be made available to the valley floor, an additional 620 single-family-equivalents could be approved. The authority board authorized the installation of the additional valve at an estimated cost of less than $400,000.