The response, made at the request of The Gazette, came via email from Southern Delivery System spokeswoman Janet Rummel.
Here it is:
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and ROD for SDS were the culmination of an extensive, scientific study of potential project impacts that took nearly six years and $17 million to complete. The analysis which included input from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concluded that, even when fully operational, SDS return flows will have a negligible impact on peak flow volumes in Fountain Creek associated with storm flows. Further, there are measures in place in our SDS permits to adequately address any potential increase in future flows on Fountain Creek related to the operation of SDS.
However, from a broader perspective, Colorado Springs Utilities supports responsible stormwater management because it ensures compliance with the City’s permit requirements under the Clean Water Act, while protecting the health and safety of our citizens as well as our community’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, communications lines, and wastewater lines, to name a few.
We strongly believe that a regional solution is the most effective way to protect our citizens and our infrastructure. Such an approach would ensure that all residents who contribute to stormwater runoff in our shared waterways are also contributing to the required investment to address those issues. Stormflows come from more sources in our County than Colorado Springs Utilities customers, and our customers should not be expected to solely invest in the required capital improvements to protect City and County infrastructure along area drainageways. Unmanaged storm flows outside of Colorado Springs city limits can jeopardize investments made within the city. Additionally, as we’ve seen from this week’s severe storms, stormwater management is needed for all the creeks and drainageways in our City and County, not just for addressing issues on Fountain Creek.
We recognize this is a complex issue, and Colorado Springs Utilities is already actively working with others in the region to identify a long-term, sustainable funding solution.