Greeley’s Bellvue Pipeline Project is about to build its third and final pipe segment on North Shields Street near CSU, to be completed in the summer of 2016. The pipeline will carry drinking water to the city of Greeley.
The pipeline will span 30 miles in its entirety, transporting increased amounts of drinking water from the Bellvue Water Treatment Plant northwest of Fort Collins down to the growing population of Greeley.
Originally, private landowners affected by the pipeline showed severe opposition to the construction of an underground funnel through their land. However, Burt Knight, Greeley Water and Sewer Director, remains adamant about the necessity of the project.
“As we saw [population] growth occurring in the early 2000s, we updated our records in 2003 and realized we were going to be short as far as capacity of water for the population,” Burt Knight said. “We haven’t built a pipeline in that corridor [of Larimer County] in 50 years. We need the additional capacity.”
Currently, the population of Greeley stands at about 100,000 people, but a growing job market and the development of land continues to draw in more and more settlers.
“The original means were not going to be sufficient,” Burt Knight said.
The pipeline has raised some alarm for environmental activists and those concerned with any threatened or endangered species in the area. Specifically, advocates for the threatened Preble’s meadow jumping mouse species expressed worry.
However, Richard Knight, CSU Professor of the College of Natural Resources, speculated that there is likely nothing to worry about.
“Colorado water law commodity dictates that Greeley will receive the water they need and this is the easiest way,” Richard Knight said. “I suspect they’ll restore the vegetation that they dig up. The right ecologists will know how to restore any disturbed lands given the time to do so.”
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service evaluated the potential environmental impacts and found that the Northern Segment “is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, or destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat,” according to the city of Greeley’s website. This concluded the pipeline’s Endangered Species Act consultation.
Upon completion of the Bellvue Pipeline Project, amounts of water appropriate for the growing population of Greeley will be readily available.
Collegian Reporter Jessie Trudell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @j_trudes.