ELCO Water Quality
Even though ELCO's water originates in pristine areas high in the Rocky Mountains, it undergoes extensive treatment and testing at the Soldier Canyon Filter Plant. All public water suppliers must meet stringent water quality criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has established maximum contaminant levels for compounds that may have an adverse effect on human health.
Water from the Soldier Canyon Filter Plant consistently meets or exceeds all water quality standards established by the EPA. Over 7,000 tests are conducted at the Filter plant each year to ensure that ELCO water meets all applicable drinking water standards.
To make sure water quality is maintained all the way to the customer, approximately 130 tests are performed each month on water supply samples collected throughout the District. District personnel also flush water from fire hydrants each year to clean out the pipes that deliver water to ELCO customers.
Fire hydrant flushing and water main breaks may stir up sediment that has settled in the pipes. Most of the sediment is manganese from Horsetooth Reservoir. The filter plant removes most of the manganese but a small amount still gets through. Manganese is not harmful, but it may taste bad and make tap water look like weak tea.
Water quality problems are usually temporary. Customers who notice a change in their water are encouraged to contact the ELCO office.
ELCO water is completely safe for drinking, cooking, bathing and other household uses. There is no need to perform additional treatment on water delivered by ELCO.
Small amounts of chlorine and flouride are added to the water as it leaves the Soldier Canyon Filter Plant. Chlorine is added to kill any bacteria which may still be in the water. Fluoride is added to help reduce tooth decay.
Some customers may not like the taste of soft water or may prefer to drink water that does not contain chlorine or fluoride. Those customers may want to buy bottled water or install a home treatment device for these reasons. Customers who drink bottled water or water from a home treatment device should do so because they prefer the taste, not out of concern for the safety of water provided by ELCO.
Annual Water Quality Report
Download: CCR Report Final.pdf
ELCO receives treated water from the Soldier Canyon Filter Plant, so named because of its location at the base of the Soldier Canyon Dam. The Soldier Canyon Dam is one of four dams constructed west of Fort Collins by the Bureau of Reclamation in the 1940's to create Horsetooth Reservoir.
Water in Horsetooth Reservoir originates as snow in the upper reaches of the Colorado River Basin. Snowmelt is collected in reservoirs on the western slope and diverted through a series of tunnels and canals for use in northeastern Colorado.
ELCO Water District, North Weld County Water District and the Fort Collins-Loveland Water District jointly own and operate the Soldier Canyon Filter Plant. Through connections with the three Districts that own the Plant, water is also supplied to the towns of Windsor, Ault, Nunn, Severance, Timnath and Eaton, as well as portions of Pierce and the Northern Colorado Water Association. Approximately 75,000 residents of northern Colorado currently receive drinking water from the Soldier Canyon Filter Plant.
Most of the water treated at the Soldier Canyon Filter Plant comes directly out of Horsetooth Reservoir through an outlet in the Soldier Canyon dam. At this time, approximately 10% of the water treated at the Soldier Canyon Filter Plant originates in the Poudre River. The percentage of Poudre River water treated and delivered to ELCO customers will increase as time goes on. By the Year 2030, it is expected that equal amounts of Horsetooth and Poudre River water will be treated at Soldier Canyon.
Poudre River water is delivered to the Soldier Canyon Filter Plant through the Pleasant Valley Pipeline, an eight mile-long raw water transmission line that also serves water treatment plants owned by Fort Collins and Greeley.
Horsetooth Reservoir and the Pleasant Valley Pipeline are part of the Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) Project, the largest transmountain diversion project in the State. The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District administers the C-BT Project. The Conservancy District oversees the delivery of water for agricultural, municipal and industrial uses to almost 1.5 million acres of northeastern Colorado.
ELCO customers receive high quality drinking water from a modern, well-operated water treatment facility supplied by the Poudre River and Horsetooth Reservoir. Fortunately, both sources are relatively safe from contamination or degradation. It can remain that way with assistance from those who use the reservoir and its watershed.
Contaminants in water sources have the potential of adversely affecting the quality of your drinking water. The water treatment plant removes most contamination, but it would be better if contaminates never entered the river or reservoir.
Everyone lives, works and plays in the watershed of some lake or river. To protect the water supply of ELCO and nearby communities, residents of northern Colorado need to avoid activities that can threaten the region's waterways.
Those who enjoy recreational activities in or near Colorado's lakes and rivers need to be sure their activities do not adversely affect water quality. Precautions are necessary to prevent fertilizers and chemicals applied to lawns or crops from ending up in waterways. Hazardous household waste or industrial chemicals can threaten water quality if not disposed of properly. Poor land use and construction practices can contribute to sedimentation problems. Everyone must remember that Colorado's lakes and streams are a source of drinking water for many people; we have the right and the responsibility to preserve and protect those waters.