Bad taste is no health risk
Last night, January 23, 2023, Westminster City Council made at least a $300 million dollar mistake, but it is not yet cast in stone. We chose to spend $196 million for a new, 50-year water treatment plant now and in 20 years we must spend at least $300 million more. Inflation may make that cost higher. We could have chosen to make the Semper Water plant a 50-year plant for $172 million dollars.
Why didn’t Council pick the lower-cost choice?
I think the fears raised by our engineers were taken out of proportion. I can’t count how many times concerns about wildfires were raised. However, while we currently cannot remove the bad taste a wildfire can give to water, bad taste is no health risk. Furthermore, If we have a wildfire there is a plan to minimize the effect on the taste of our water.
Then there were the fears about the PFA/PFOA family of chemicals. These can pose a health risk. Currently, Westminster water is far below the threshold for concern. While some advocates lobby for lowering the current standard of 70 parts per trillion to 4 parts per quadrillion, the practical limitations make this highly unlikely. It is very much like the fear about Plutonium in Standley Lake. Yes it is there, yes it is highly dangerous, but it does not get into our water.
How can so many water providers along the Colorado Front range build safe, reliable, enduring water plants for reasonable costs but Westminster cannot? I am coming to believe our engineers do not want the people to have reasonable water rates.
Council can reverse this situation if we can quickly find the courage to do so.