AURORA | A 20-mile pipeline near Smoky Hill Road at E-470 east and runs south near University Boulevard can deliver 38 million gallons of water a day to the south Denver suburbs. City officials said the pipeline, which is part of the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency partnership, will need a storage tank on top of Smoky Hill in Aurora to work. Nearby residents protested and said the towers will be ugly.
“It will be a very sad day if Aurora Water is permitted to place the water towers on E-470 and Smoky Hill. This part of town prides itself on its beauty and views that are unparalleled in any other part of the city,” wrote Aurora resident Don Anoff, one of 120 people to comment during a hearing on the tanks. Detractors said the tanks would impact property values if built.
Anoff and others referred to the proposed Smoky Hill Tank, a water tank that will hold 2 million gallons of potable water at the southeast corner of E-470 and Smoky Hill Road. The tank will be 100 feet in diameter and will sit 25 feet above ground at the top of the Road, blocking mountain views for residents in neighborhoods such as Tallyn’s Reach.
On Dec. 8, the Aurora City Council affirmed the E-470 Authority’s decision to permit the tank to be built on a vote of 8-2 with councilwomen Renie Peterson and Molly Markert voting against the tank.
“We looked very hard for alternative sites. There were major problems with the sites we identified, and this was the only viable location we were able to find,” Eric Hecox, executive director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority, said at the council meeting. He said the tank needed to be built at an elevation of at least 6,100 feet and at the specific Smoky Hill location.
“We’re talking about a pipeline that moves water from west to east and we’re changing it into a pipeline that moves in two directions. In order to get the hydraulics right, we have to have the tank be at the right location,” he said.
City of Aurora spokeswoman Julie Patterson said an amendment was made by the Aurora City Council at the meeting to mitigate the visual impacts of the tank.
“City staff and the applicant are working to accomplish this, but no specific details are available at this time,” she said.
The WISE partnership is expected to generate money for the city as WISE members pay Aurora for a wholesale supply of potable water.
According to city documents, Aurora is expected to receive $7 million from water delivery fees when water delivery begins in 2020. That money would be used to pay down debt and operating costs for the city’s Prairie Waters system.