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10 Days of #COS: #9 Stormwater


City Countdown: 10 Days of #COS Stories as 2016 Comes to a Close

# 9 Stormwater Infrastructure Improvements, Programs are Online to Protect Vital Water Resources in Colorado Springs and for Downstream Communities

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -  Several significant stormwater related capital projects are underway to improve the city’s stormwater infrastructure and resources and to protect downstream communities thanks to a joint commitment by the City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) to fund stormwater infrastructure and programs through an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with Pueblo County. On April 28, the City and CSU committed to spending $460 million over the next 20 years on stormwater programming and infrastructure.  The IGA describes the City’s responsibilities for the provision of stormwater services within the City’s jurisdiction and under the MS4 permit issued under the federal Clean Water Act and its state counterpart. 

“Investing in our stormwater infrastructure and programs are a priority we simply can no longer afford to ignore. Our city not only has a legal obligation to invest in stormwater resources, but it’s the right thing to do,” said Mayor John Suthers. “This renewed focus backed by a 20-year financial commitment will help protect our waterways and greatly improve our ability to control flooding in Colorado Springs and downstream.”

The IGA project list for 2016 includes seven Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) listed below.  As of December 1, all seven CIP projects have entered the design phase, or are complete, with two going under construction this winter.

Sand Creek Pond 3 – The design and construction of new full spectrum water quality and detention ponds were substantially completed this summer to manage runoff from new development in the area.  The remaining work includes plantings scheduled for the spring of 2017.

America the Beautiful Park Basin – This project involves the construction of new water quality and detention ponds and improvements to an existing stormwater conveyance pipeline that will detain and convey stormwater from the southwest corner of downtown to Fountain Creek.  Design is underway with an expected completion of February 2017.  Construction is expected to be complete by Fall 2017.

USAFA Drainage, Monument Branch – This project will incorporate drop structures and flood mitigation measures to restore and stabilize the Monument Branch tributary to Monument Creek which has become highly eroded. Construction of Phase I began November 18 and is expected to be substantially complete by January 2017. Phase II and III are expected to be complete in the summer of 2017.

Fairfax Tributary Detention Pond – The City applied for a grant through the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Mitigation Fund with an expected response by January 2017.  If approved, final design will be performed by a consultant for CDOT as part of the proposed Powers Boulevard and Research Parkway interchange.  The project involves the design and construction of a new full spectrum water quality and detention pond to manage runoff from new development in the area, as well as runoff from the future Powers over Research Parkway interchange. Initial design of alternatives has been completed and construction is expected to begin in 2018.

Downtown Drainage Improvements – This project combines the reconstruction and upgrade of an existing stormwater pipeline and a potable water main that run along Pikes Peak Avenue from Nevada Avenue to Shooks Run.  The project was designed in-house and is currently out for construction bids.  Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2017 with a completion date of spring 2017.

Sand Creek Stabilization South of Platte – This project will incorporate drop structures and flood mitigation measures to restore and stabilize a half mile section of Sand Creek that has become highly eroded. A designer has been selected and notice to proceed will occur in the month of December.  The design is expected to take approximately 10 months with construction beginning in Fall 2017.  The project is expected to be completed in Spring 2018.

King Street Detention Pond - Design has begun to retrofit an existing detention pond to improve water quality and comply with water quality and detention regulations. The design will be complete in January 2017 with construction expected to be complete in summer 2017.

The IGA list for 2016 also includes two additional project categories: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant projects and Emergency CIP.  To-date the City has completed 18 grant projects with 10 more either currently in the design or construction phase.  The Emergency CIP list includes 29 completed projects with six more currently in the design or construction phase. The additional project categories provide funding that can be leveraged for grants or to expedite repairs on smaller projects that directly impact residents in their neighborhoods.

A complete list of the 71 IGA projects and 2016 stormwater projects (IGA, Capital and Grant Projects, and Community and Local Projects) is available on the City’s website at

Although the City has made great strides to improve its stormwater infrastructure and operations to enhance water quality, meet MS4 program requirements, reduce flooding concerns and protect downstream communities, significant additional infrastructure improvements will be necessary. The 71 IGA projects seek to improve the City’s stormwater infrastructure primarily through regional detention and stream stabilization projects. Additional infrastructure improvements will be necessary to address a significant portion of the City’s stormwater conveyance network, which is in a substantially deteriorated condition.

A Roadmap to Revitalizing Stormwater Infrastructure and Operations

With input of several stakeholders and the public, the City developed a Stormwater Program Implementation Plan to provide a roadmap for revitalizing the City’s stormwater infrastructure and operations. The plan sets goals and objectives and lays out a foundation for transforming the City stormwater program from its condition in late 2015 to what is needed to satisfy the terms of the City’s MS4 Permit. As such, the City has created a separate Stormwater Division within its Public Works Department and is increasing the staffing levels from 28 to 66 full time positions between late 2015 and the end of 2017. Click here to view the Plan.

Interactive Stormwater Project Map

In an effort to inform residents about how the City’s General Fund dollars will be allocated to stormwater infrastructure and what projects will take place around the city to maintain a healthy stormwater system, residents are encouraged to view an interactive map showing locations of all scheduled stormwater projects, including the 71 approved in the Inter-Governmental Agreement. With a total of 110 mapped projects, the map highlights IGA projects; community and local projects; and grant/capital improvements. These stormwater projects are designed to reduce flooding, provide improved water detention, and reduce flows, sediment and other pollutants entering drainages and going downstream.