Prepare to bring water on some PSICC Districts

Four Forest Service ranger districts have closed 11 water systems in 12 campgrounds across the Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands, for repairs to the mechanical function of the systems.

The water systems are expected to remain closed in most cases for the rest of the 2020 camping season. In some campgrounds, water will be made available by other means. For those campgrounds unable to provide water resources, fees will be reduced until water becomes available. Forest visitors should consult our website or Recreation.gov to learn the status of the campgrounds and the current fees being charged.

“The safety of our forest visitors and staff is our highest priority,” said Diana M. Trujillo, PSICC forest and grasslands supervisor. “District rangers and the concessionaire are working together to ensure forest visitors are able to enjoy all of the amenities that make our forest one of the most visited forests and grasslands in the nation. We hope to restore water service to our campgrounds for the 2021 season.”

The PSICC is working toward completing designs to fix the systems, which will be submitted to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment by October 24, 2020. The proposed designs must be evaluated and approved by CDPHE before system repairs can be made. The repairs will be inspected by CDPHE, and once certified, the systems can be returned to operational status. In the interim, the Forest Service is working with the concessionaire to provide water to some of the impacted campgrounds. For the campgrounds that will remain without water, forest visitors should prepare to bring enough drinking water, such as bottled water, for the duration of their stay. Visitors should also bring enough non-potable water to serve their sanitary needs and to extinguish any fires, if fires are allowed in the area they plan to camp. To check for fire restrictions please visit our website.

For questions about water system closures please contact the district you will visit or Public Affairs Specialist Crystal Young at 719-553-1415 or email crystal.young2@usda.gov.

 

Q: Why are the water systems at some campgrounds shut off?

A: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) conducted sanitary surveys in 2017/2018. Eleven campground water systems affecting 12 campgrounds on four districts of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands were issued violations because of improper record keeping. The districts are the San Carlos, South Platte, Leadville and Salida Ranger Districts. The survey also revealed that the water systems did not meet Colorado’s current mechanical requirements. For the violations to be cleared, both issues must be addressed. According to an agreement with CDPHE, the water systems will be shut off until the deficiencies are addressed, and the actions taken are evaluated by CDPHE and certified as compliant.

Q: What is the PSICC doing to fix this problem?

A: The Pike and San Isabel National Forest Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands engineering department submitted a proposed course of action to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) in March 2020. To avoid paying large, administrative penalty fees, the agreement states the water systems are required to be closed until they comply with CDPHE regulations. Currently, all of the water systems under enforcement are closed for public use. Notice must be posted at the entrance to the campgrounds and renewed every 30 days describing what is happening with the system and what is being done to remedy the situation. Each system was evaluated, and each has unique challenges. The PSICC engineering department is drafting design proposals to bring the systems in line with CDPHE regulation and on track to be submitted by the proposed Oct 24, 2020 deadline.

Once the proposed designs are submitted, CDPHE will review and approve the designs. There is no established timeframe for this review. As the last plan was approved several months after it was submitted, we expect these systems will not be open again at all this for the 2020 season. Once the designs are approved the contracting process can begin making the modifications or replacements of the systems. CDPHE allows nine months after the design approvals for the work to be completed.  CDPHE will then inspect the systems, and certify them if they meet all requirements. Dependent on length of the approval process, it is projected that the systems may be back in operating status for the 2021 season.

Q: Does that mean my campground will not have water at all?

A: There are different concessionaire permits with the districts on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands, so remedies are moving forward at different rates. The ranger districts include San Carlos, South Platte, Leadville and Salida. For any alternative solutions, the concessionaire and the Forest Service will comply with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulations for supplying water.

On the San Carlos District:     

  • Blue Lake Campground currently has no drinking water and campers are receiving 50% discounts on the camping fee. Pump parts are on order and the engineering staff projects the State requirements will be met for water opening in July. Until the system is restored, forest visitors should note drinking water is available at Bear Lake campground which is one mile from Blue Lake Campground.
  • At La Vista Campground the water system repairs are nearly complete. The concessionaire has installed a water tank in accordance to the requirements set forth by the State.Water is available in the campground for campers and concessions staff. There are no fee changes at La Vista.

On the Salida District:

  • At the Cottonwood Lake Campground, the regular water system will probably not be operational during the 2020 season. The concessionaire is working on a temporary solution. A water tank is on order and they will be building a stand for it. The concessionaire will hire a contractor to fill, test and maintain the tank. Until the temporary solution is able to provide water to the campground, camping fees are reduced 50%.

On the South Platte District:

  • At the Geneva Park Campground, the concessionaire plans to get the water systems restored to State standards as soon as possible. Because there is no water available, the site fee is reduced 50%.
  • At the Hall Valley Campground, the concessionaire plans to get the water systems restored to State standards as soon as possible. Because there is no water available, the site fee is reduced 50%.
  • At the Kenosha Campground the concessionaire plans to get the water systems restored to State standards as soon as possible. Because there is no water available, the site fee is reduced 50%.           

On the Leadville District: 

  • At the Lakeview Campground, the water systems are closed for the 2020 season. The concessionaire is working to provide a water alternative. Until water is available at this site, the camping fee is reduced 25%.
  • At the May Queen Campground, the water systems are closed for the 2020 season. The concessionaire is working to provide a water alternative. Until water is available at this site, the camping fee is reduced 25%.
  • The Twin/Parry Peaks Campgrounds draw water from the same water system. The water systems are closed for the 2020 season. The concessionaire is working to provide a water alternative. Until water is available at this site, the camping fee is reduced 25%.
  • At the Whitestar Campground site, the water systems are closed for the 2020 season. The concessionaire is working to provide a water alternative. Until water is available at this site, the camping fee is reduced 25%.
  • At the Elbert Creek Campground, the water systems are closed for the 2020 season. The concessionaire is working to provide a water alternative. Until water is available at this site, the camping fee is reduced 25%.




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