Utilities reopens Colorado Avenue at 3000 block, but groundwater infiltration concerns remainThe Colorado Springs Utilities closure of Colorado Avenue between 30th and 31st streets did not last as long as feared, thanks to drier weather and the success of a pumping operation related to high groundwater.
However, Utilities spokesperson Steve Berry said May 13 that the problem could return in that area “if we have more rain this weekend.” In the meantime, “people will still see our trucks around the neighborhood,” he added.
The avenue's 3000 block had been closed to traffic from May 9 to 11 because rain-fed groundwater - rising from a naturally high water table - had infiltrated wastewater pipes in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood north of the avenue. This had led to Utilities concerns about the volume of sewage/groundwater exceeding pipe capacities and even escaping onto the streets through manholes.
In a related aspect, Utilities has determined that most of the homes in Pleasant Valley were built (many of them more than 50 years ago) with sump pumps in their basements or crawl spaces that connect to the city's wastewater system. So after heavy rains, when most of the roughly 800 Pleasant Valley homes are using those devices, their pumped-out water adds to the capacity problem, Berry said.
Sump pumps are supposed to connect to the city storm drains. However, he conceded that making such a change could be costly for homeowners and require hiring a contractor.
To relieve the Pleasant Valley capacity problem for now, the city last week set up a “daisy chain” of pumps to move the wastewater excess into the pipes south of Colorado Avenue where there's more room. A temporary hose from the north to the south side of the avenue and connected to a pump was what forced the street to close in both directions… and could do so again, according to Berry.
But for now, he said Utilities officials are pleased they were able to open the avenue sooner than expected, and “we hope we can avoid shutting it down again.”
Westside Pioneer article