Monday, June 24, 2024

Firestone approves Thornton water pipeline infrastructure plan

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Firestone officials approved a plan for Thornton to construct a piece of its roughly 70-mile-long water pipeline through the town’s right-of-way earlier this week.

When it’s complete, the 42-inch diameter steel pipeline is expected to connect the south side of Thornton to a reservoir northwest of Fort Collins. Thornton officials have worked on the water pipeline project for decades; and the city has had shares of the reservoir since the 1980s.

Eight miles of the pipeline project is already complete in Weld County. The project is divided into six different segments with the vast majority of the pipeline running east of I-25. As part of the Firestone/Thornton deal approved this week, Firestone will be able to construct an emergency interconnect off the Thornton pipeline at Zinnia Avenue, providing the St. Vrain Water Treatment Plant with a second emergency source of raw water.

“The ability to work out mutually beneficial agreements like these is so important for us as we seek ways to leverage resources and provide our residents a greater overall return on their investments,” A.J. Krieger, Firestone town manager, said in an email Friday. “This process hasn’t been easy for either party, but in the end I think we’ve gotten to a good place.”

Thornton recently submitted its second application to Larimer County related to the spot where the pipeline may start. Officials are expecting a hearing with the Larimer County Board of County Commissioners, possibly in May, concerning the pipeline. The pipe’s alignment could change based upon the outcome of that hearing.

In all, the pipeline infrastructure is slated to have a flow rate of four to 14 million gallons a day and has a tentative completion date of 2027, at the earliest, according to the project’s website. However, a Thornton engineer, during the Firestone board of trustees’ meeting Wednesday, said construction would last into 2028.

“It’s really not impacting anything, currently, as far as town infrastructure and those kinds of things,” Firestone Mayor Drew Peterson said during the Firestone Board of Trustees’ meeting Wednesday.

Construction is scheduled to begin later this year on the portion of the pipeline that will go through Firestone.

“We’re being a good neighbor,” Don Conyac, a Firestone trustee, said in an interview Thursday. “Water is an issue for every town along the Front Range, especially the northern Front Range, and we need to work together to help each other out with water.”

A Thornton spokesperson estimated the entire pipeline would cost about $485 million to complete.

 

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