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Donala Water & Sanitation District

 DONALA WATER & SANITATION DISTRICT

 (719) 488-3603               FEBRUARY 2013

 

COPPER DOWN THE DRAIN

In December one of our customers had a backup due to tree root intrusion into their sewer service line.  Unfortunately that is a fairly common occurrence, especially in dry years when the trees are searching for water anywhere they can get it – even inside a “wet” pipe.  We have experienced root intrusion in a few of our sewer mains as well.

A common solution often recommended by other than real professionals is to pour volumes of copper sulfate down the drain to chew up the roots.  Copper sulfate is often sold by hardware stores and plumbing suppliers for this purpose.  PLEASE! DO NOT use copper sulfate.  Copper is a very toxic substance to aquatic life, and when it goes down the sewer pipe it ends up coming out of the wastewater plant into Monument Creek.  Our plant cannot treat copper out of wastewater.  Very few plants can.

If any plumber or sewer rooter contractor advises you to use copper sulfate, please let Donala know his name and organization.  They should know better, and none of us will be able to stand the cost of a fine by the EPA or the State Health Department because we cannot treat the copper out of the water.  Please read the labels on any product used for root removal to make sure copper sulfate is not an ingredient.

 

NEW ASSISTANT MANAGER

Donala recently hired Mr. Kip Petersen as the District’s Assistant Manager.  Kip most recently was the Manager of the Cherokee Metropolitan District.  Previous to that he was the Town Manager in Cripple Creek and was the Planning Director of Teller County.  Kip will hopefully take over for the Donala General Manager in June.

 

CONSERVATION MANAGER

 

As we say hello to Kip Petersen, unfortunately we also have to say goodbye to Susan McLean, the Donala Conservation Manager.  Due to family health reasons, Susan has had to retire from her position with the District.  Susan was a great addition to our staff over the past two years.  She conducted a Landscape Expo and several training sessions, provided close to 40 individual designs for customer landscaping, and authored numerous articles for our newsletters and the Donala website.  Susan also designed and built the “Donala Gardens” Xeriscape Demonstration Garden located on the south end of the District for all to view.

Unfortunately we probably will not be able to replace Susan – at least not very economically.  Her unique skills and talents are hard to come by.  We will continue to distribute the information on xeriscaping and other conservation measures in our newsletters and on the website.  Terri Ladouceur, one of our operators who also has a “green thumb”, may be available on a part-time basis in some advisory capability.  The extent of her available time is yet to be determined.  Susan has also provided us with a list of landscape designers, contractors and nurseries that she recommends.

  

DROUGHT AND WATER AVAILABILITY

 

It should come as no surprise that we are in a significant drought condition here in Donala and the Front Range of Colorado.  That can be said for a large portion of the western United States as well.  Even though as I write this in mid-January, we have had some snow in the mountains, the ski areas are reveling in their powder, and we even have a thin white covering here in the neighborhood, the fact is we are deeply entrenched in a dry year.  Last year was almost a record breaker for Donala in terms of our water use.   Our customers used 9% more water than in 2011, and 2011 was also a high use year.  In fact, only the severe drought years of 2002 and 2008 produced a higher demand for water.  We had a grand total of 6 inches of precipitation in 2012, less than half the normal average.  We were greatly affected by the lack of snowpack last winter and therefore realized less than half of our appropriation of renewable water from our ranch near Leadville.

Right now, although there is snow in the hills, the snowpack is only 49% of normal.  The Colorado Springs reservoirs are only at 46% of their normal level for this time of year.  You may have read in the Gazette that Colorado Springs Utilities is proposing irrigation restrictions this summer.  Of course we already have restrictions from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and we can expect those to continue for the foreseeable future.  However, if CSU’s restrictions are more stringent (twice a week vs. three times), in accordance with our service agreement whereby our ranch water comes through their system, we will have to follow suit.

Stay tuned and do a rain dance!!!!

 

“GOOD SHEPHERD” ACCOUNT

 

The annual “Taxpayers’ Report”, nicknamed the “Good Shepherd Report” is available on the website at www.donalawater.org.  It shows the amount we collected in taxes last year, the debt that is serviced and our best estimate at the plans and costs of future capital projects as explained in the Town Meetings and previous newsletters. 

 

WEBSITE - “VIEW/PAY” BILL UPDATE

 

Donala has recently upgraded the payment portal on our website.  Due to this upgrade, all customers will need to re-register their online payment account.  This does not affect your account number with Donala.  In order to re-register you will need to input the first and last name as we have it listed in our database, which is on your monthly bill.  For instance if the account is John and Mary Doe, you will need to register as John Doe.  The new portal offers more options than our previous portal.  You can change your email address and phone number online.  However, to change an address you will still need to contact the office.  Previously customers could only view 3 months of history.  With this upgrade you will eventually be able to view 12 months of history.  Another feature is the ability to email a service request, such as termination of an account or request for service.  We feel this upgrade is more users friendly and will provide a greater level of convenience to our customers.  If you have any problems registering or just have questions please feel free to contact the office at 488-3603; Monday-Friday 8-4:30.

PAYMENT VIA CREDIT CARD

The District has accepted credit card payments for several years and is continuing to do so.   We are pleased to announce we have renegotiated with our third party vendor to lower the convenience fee from 3.5% down to 3%. This is the charge a third party vendor charges Donala customers to process credit card or debit card payments.    If you have any questions please call us.