Residents of Douglas Road unite to oppose the Thornton pipeline

Residents of Douglas Road oppose the Thornton Pipeline
One of the network of reservoirs at the end of Starlight Drive that would feed the pipeline

Residents of Douglas Road have formed a group, No Pipe Dream, to oppose a 48 inch pipeline planned to traverse their community en route to Thornton.

The residents are concerned the project will disrupt traffic along their main corridor, Douglas Road. The project would bring digging, heavy machinery and road blocks for two years. Residents of Starlight Drive, a road headed north off of Douglas are particularly concerned. At the end of Starlight Drive is a network of reservoirs from which the water for the pipeline will be drawn. A pump station to the east of Starlight will be built to pump the water from the reservoirs.

View of the pump station site from the Lemerich home

Warren Lemerich is a math teacher at Laramie Community College. His property is located on Starlight Drive, directly across the road from the proposed pump station. He is particularly disturbed by the lack of communication between the Thornton Water District and the neighbors who will be impacted by the pipeline. He cited an example of a letter sent to area residents in August of 2017 but not to the residents of Starlight Drive. He also indicated that a meeting held in September 2018 indicated that most of the community knew nothing about the pipeline or the construction on Douglas Road that would take two years to complete.

An article in the CSU Public Lands History Center about the Water Storage and Supply Company (WSSC), contains the following information. In the 1986, as the controversial Two Forks Dam proposal appeared to be headed for rejection, an anonymous buyer began acquiring large amounts of stock in the WSSC company, amounting to 283 out of 600 shares. The buyer was finally identified as the City of Thornton. The WSSC saw the buyer taking over almost half of the stock in their company and protested but in 1986, many landowners in a depressed agricultural market were eager to sell. Thornton was able to purchase numerous farms in the areas of Ault and Pierce, east of I-25 and northeast of Greeley.

An editorial published in the Coloradoan, written by Douglas Road resident Penny Hillman, also indicates that the locals have had little input into a construction project that would impact the neighborhoods for years. She asks for an alternative in the following statement:

For years Thornton has invested mountains of money pursuing a pipeline route for their water while refusing to explore an alternative which would avoid destructively cramming a 48-inch pipeline through peaceful neighborhoods without any input from those who are being directly impacted.” 
Another Douglas Road resident and member of No Pipe Dream, Lynn Nichols, proposes that Thornton utilize a takeout point near Windsor so the increased water flows would contribute to the health of the river. She offered this proposal on January 12, 2017 in the Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel:

“As a founding member of No Pipe Dream we are asking our county commissioners to reject the City of Thornton’s application, and instead be good environmental stewards and leave the water in the Poudre River through town to its takeout point near Windsor. 

This would improve the health of the river, enhance natural areas around the river, and respect neighbors of Douglas Road.”

Yet another concern and one of many residents in Northern Colorado is a project that has been said, while not officially confirmed, “will divert 20% of the Poudre River water all the way south to a Denver suburb”, further damaging the ecosystem of an already stressed river.

A document has been submitted to the Board of County Commissioners with more than 1000 signatures, the request being to stop Thornton from taking water north of Fort Collins. The Board has ninety days to consider all sides of the issue.

Further information, research and opinions may be found at nopipedream.com.

 

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