Our beautiful mountain properties bring many changes from city life, and one of those changes is water. We may have become accustomed to use in the Front Range cities which obtain water from surface water rights. By comparison, our primary water source in GVM is from ground water (wells) and that has different allowable uses. Not only is it a legal issue, it’s also a matter of conservation and protection of our fragile underground resource. This page provides helpful information for using and maintaining the water sources that are appropriate for indoor use, and those that are appropriate for outdoor use.
Water from Wells
GVM was granted a Water Augmentation Plan (“PLAN”) by the State of Colorado on Feb 8, 1983. The PLAN is a covenant running with the land and all property owners are bound by that covenant. Article 8 of the PLAN states in part:
“Use of water in the residential units will be restricted to domestic, in-house only purposes. Yard irrigation and all uses other than in-house uses will prohibited by the restrictive covenants, by the provisions of this decree, and by the conditions on well permits issued by the State Engineer.”
The Water & Sewer board (W&S) provided further detail on the in-house uses of well water in this 2002 Augmentation Policy Notice
We recognize the vast majority of the members of the Glacier View Water and Sewer Association are conscientious of the appropriate use of their wells and the conservation of our precious ground water, and we thank you for your cooperation. The process to establish compliance within the Association before submitting violations to the state is defined in the W&S Enforcement Policy
Publications from CSU Environmental Health Services:
Water collected in Rain Barrels
House Bill 16-1005, effective August 10, 2016, allows precipitation to be collected from the rooftop of certain residential properties.
GVM residences that are a single family house on an exempt household-use only well can use rain barrels as allowed under HB16-1005. There is a limit of two rain barrels with a combined storage capacity not to exceed 110 gal. The water must be collected from the roof of the building that is used primarily as the residence and may be used for outdoor uses, such as lawn and garden irrigation, on the property where the water was collected. The water cannot be used for drinking water or indoor household purposes.
Resources from external sites:
Water can be purchased at the Fort Collins Water Station at 700 Wood St for $6 per 1,000 gallons. It can be used for any purpose, indoor or outdoor. It is commonly used to fill a cistern as an alternative to, or backup for, a well. Also commonly used for greenhouses.
Tanks for your trailer or pickup are available at Jax, or on CraigsList and other sites. A gallon of water weighs 8 lbs so make sure your pickup or trailer is up to the task. If used for filling a cistern, purchase a tank qualified for drinkable water.
Well Water Quality
Particularly in springtime with its snow melt and heavy rains, there is a good possibility of surface water getting into our wells. You may want to have your water checked.
The Larimer County Health Department offers bacteriological analysis of potable (suitable for drinking) water. The department charges a fee of $24.00 to test for the presence of Total Coliform bacteria. Water is considered unsafe to drink when Coliform bacteria are present.
It is recommended that domestic wells be tested at least yearly to verify safe drinking water. Water samples to be analyzed for bacteriological content must be collected in specially prepared bottles obtained from the Larimer County Health Department. Each bottle is sterilized and contains a powder preservative. The laboratory analysis is performed by the Weld County Health Department in Greeley.
Sample bottles are available to the public at Larimer County Department of Health and Environment at 1525 Blue Spruce in Fort Collins from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
This document describes How To Disinfect Your Well
Those on the community water systems can rest assured. The GVM staff member who is in charge of all those systems tests them 3 times a week. That staff member is certified by the State of Colorado.
Community System Septic Tanks
Residents who are connected to GVM community sewer systems have unique challenges in understanding and maintaining their tank and pump systems. There are some important things to know about these systems to keep them working correctly. As residents come and go, this knowledge can get lost in the shuffle. Here the the top 8 important things to know about your system and how it works.
- You own the septic tanks, pump system and the service line connecting to the main line. It is your responsibility to understand, maintain, and repair these items. GVM can help you understand and troubleshoot problems
- Your system works differently from private septic systems. The solid waste and waste water (effluent) from you home goes into your septic tank. The solids say in your tank and bread down naturally. The waste water is periodically pumped out of the thank and sent to a centralized treatment facility. This pumping system is the least understood element of the systems by homeowners.
- The pump may be located in the second half of your septic tan or, for newer installations, will be located in a separate, smaller “pump pit” tank. The pump turns on when the water level gets high and turns off when the water level is lowered.
- An operation light must be installed outside your tank with a working light bulb. This bulb turns on when the pump is running and turns off when the water level is lowered. Different systems pump water for different lengths of time. Find out what is normal for your system. If the light stays on longer than normal, something is wrong. Turn off the power to the pump until the problem is fixed.
- Your pump has a filter screen on it that must be cleaned periodically – at least once per yer. If this screen clogs, waste will pump slowly or not at all and could cause your pump to fail prematurely. This can be done by a handy homeowner, plumber, or professional septic cleaning company. Call the GVM office for referrals or instructions on doing it yourself. Pumps cost about $350 before installation costs.
- If the pump fails, your system will overflow. Your water service may need to be turned off until repairs are made or tanks are pumped.
- The pump line exiting the tank may be subject to freezing. Depending on how yours was installed and how frequently your pump turns on , your line may freeze and prevent water from being pumped. Your operation light will stay on if this happens. During the winter, consider using electric heat tape, high wattage light bulbs, or insulation in and around your tank. Straw bales on top of the tank will help insulate it. This is a good idea for part-time residents who have problems.
- All community and private septic tanks should be cleaned and inspected about every 3-5 years depending on the actual use. Pumps can be cleaned at this time too. Don’t forget that the W&S Association offers a $100 rebate for members who have their tanks pumped. This benefit is available once every 3 years per member property.