Water Officials say to Denver suburbs: Water does not flow uphill!

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FYI Source: Denver Post, December 2, 1999, Pg. 1B

High and dry on Y2K? Power-outage risk spells water problems for Green Mountain

By Stacie Oulton, Denver Post Staff Writer

LAKEWOOD - The infamous Y2K bug could prompt an uphill battle, literally, for some metro area residents.

Homeowners perched on places such as Green Mountain could end up without water if the power goes out when the clock strikes midnight, Jan. 1.

"If Public Service is down for more than 48 hours, we're basically out of water," said Judy Dahl, general manager for Green Mountain Water and Sanitation District, which serves about 10,000 homes in Lakewood.

The chance of a long-term power outage is nearly nonexistent, authorities say. Still, the Green Mountain district has told its customers they are vulnerable to the taps drying up because, unlike the power of gravity on the plains, electricity must pump water uphill.

Green Mountain homeowners aren't alone. Every Golden home owner has water pumped to them and even a section of Douglas County served by Southgate Water District needs pumped water.

"There will be certain areas in our service area that are in higher elevations that if we have an extended outage, water storage and supply would be a concern," said Trina McGuire, spokeswoman with Denver Water, which supplies most of the metro area. "But it would be highly unlikely."

Public Service has tested, planned and practiced for any scenario it could dream up that would shut down power for several days, and the power company is confident no major interruption will occur.

Even if it does, power won't be off for long, said Chris Clemens, Public Service spokesman.

"We believe even if there is a worst case - the whole state goes dark - that we could recover, for some people, in a few minutes," Clemens said, "To get our entire system back would take 12 to 24 hours.

That hasn't stopped the Green Mountain district from having backup plans, including door-to-door warnings for people whose taps will run dry, Dahl said.

Although it also has made arrangements for neighboring water districts to provide places where people can fill bottles and buckets if the worst happens, Dahl is telling customers it might not be a bad idea to have a little bit of extra water on hand.

Duane Tinsley, manager for Southgate Water District, said having extra water is never a bad idea. That's because outages from blizzards, windstorms and nature-caused havoc are a real possibility - not the Y2K bug.

"We don't feel we're any more prone to failure because of Y2K, probably less because of the attention to it," Tinsley said. "But there is a growing sense that on a normal, routine basis that people should prepare themselves to survive on a 72-hour basis."

The Green Mountain district did not buy backup generators for its pumping stations because, Dahl said, it wouldn't do any good. Denver Water's pump station feeding the Green Mountain area doesn't have a backup generator either.

Golden, which doesn't get water from Denver, didn't buy backup generators because it just cost too much - particularly for such a small chance of long-term disruption.

"It would have cost $250,000 to put in generators and that didn't seem like it would be an appropriate response," said Golden Public Works Director Dan Hartman.

Denver Water decided against putting generators on its pump stations for the same reason, McGuire said.

Hartman asks residents not to start filling up bathtubs and bottles if there is a power outage because it will stress the city's system and decrease how long the city can survive.

"Don't hoard the water the day the power goes off," Hartman said.

"Do it on the 31st," he said, before the city tops off its reserves at midnight.

-- kalani (kalani_hanohano@hotmail.com), December 02, 1999


Back on-line in a few hours huh? Just like all the other utilities. Gosh, wonder where they got all the spare parts? What makes them think that the spares will work, if they're the same devices?

How naive are the sheeple!

-- TA (sea_spur@yahoo.com), December 02, 1999.

Listen, if the Northern states loose power (aka: heat) in January, loosing water won't matter anyway once everything freezes up. The last thing they'll want is ample supplies of flowing water once the pipes thaw........

People won't even know what hit 'em or where to begin. At 25 degrees below zero, a loss of heat for a 48hr period of time will turn the average home into a war zone and people don't have a clue how to deal with Mother Nature one on one any more.

The cull cometh. President 'ifeelyourpain' Clinton may be faced with surviving 'witnessourwrath' citizens. Feel that big-boy.

-- Will continue (farming@home.com), December 02, 1999.

No he won't, Will. He'll be hiding in his bunker.

-- Z (Z@Z.com), December 02, 1999.

Will continue; where ya been? To what do we owe this honor?


-- Al K. Lloyd (all@ready.now), December 02, 1999.

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