Town of Winter Park acknowledges Fraser River pollution
October 6, 2016
Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson acknowledged the pollution that is being discharged into the Fraser River at the October 4 Winter Park Town Council meeting.
Nelson said Winter Park is in good communication with Grand County and water quality officials, and that they have been copied in every letter sent to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) regarding the issue.
The Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) has been discharging polluted water into the Fraser River. The discharges appear to have been occurring for multiple years and are a result of annual maintenance and cleaning work performed by the UPRR within the Moffat Tunnel.
Nelson stated he was aware of the discharges and ongoing discussions between the County and State.
“Grand County has done a great job of communicating with the Town on this matter, and we have collaborated on water testing related to the discharge you are referring to,” Nelson stated in an email.
“We also worked in collaboration with Grand County, Winter Park Water and Sanitation District, and other interested parties in pushing the CDPHE for the installation of the UPRR water treatment facility currently under construction near the Moffat Tunnel to treat water coming out of the tunnel a few years ago. Ultimately, the CDPHE and UPRR have an obligation to ensure that the Fraser River runs clean and pollutants are removed prior to discharge of any kind. Local dischargers (such as water and sanitation districts) are held to increasingly high standards by the State, and we believe that the same should be applied to UPRR and anything coming out of the Moffat Tunnel.”
“We’ve been in contact with the state on the issue and our demands are that the CDPHE and UPRR make sure that the water is clean that is getting discharged into the Fraser River,” Nelson said at the Town Council meeting.
Nelson said they were notified of the situation last year and Winter Park paid to have tests conducted above and below the discharge point, but they were a bit late because they were not notified of the situation in time. They were, however, able to get documentation on the issue and the tests conducted. Nelson said the Town of Winter Park was part of the push to install the water treatment facility.