May 29, 2017

Radio Golden #8 – June 22, 2012: air quality in Golden, the Jeffco schools bond & mill, and more

Special guests Jeremy Nichols (on air quality) and Obsidian (on great things for kids to do in Golden during the summer).

Curious about Golden’s air quality? Ever wonder about ozone pollution, or the impacts to Golden of Coors’ coal-fired power plant? Did you know that Coors does, in fact, have a coal-fired power plant? It’s all in Radio Golden episode #8. Check it out …

The "Odor Hotline"

The noxious odors as you drive along Highway 58 (and sometimes drifting into Golden’s eastern neighborhoods) have been a persistent challenge as long as I’ve served on the City Council.  There are two wastewater plants, the very visible plant just north of Highway 58 and another one within the Coors complex on the south side.  The one on the south side is called the “general wastewater treatment plant” it is used to treat domestic wastewater from the City of Golden, domestic waste from the brewery and other manufacturing operations, and some industrial wastewaters.  The very unpleasant odor is actually coming from the “process wastewater treatment plant” on the north side of the highway, which is used to treat wastewater from the brewery itself.  You can watch the City Council briefing and discussion from a couple of weeks ago (the August 5 City Council Study Session) if you want details, but the punch line is that Coors has made investments and changes in recent years with some apparent improvements, Coors has committed to taking some additional steps over the next few years, and that the long-term answer is basically to enclose the treatment plant. That will probably happen at some point but it is very expensive and so will probably occur after the feds adopt new rules that are in the works so that Coors can address both issues in a single construction project.

It is really helpful, in any case, to let Coors and the City know whenever the odor is particularly noxious.  The “Odor Hotline” is the best way to do that.  Program it into your phone (maybe someone can create an app?) and call every time the smell is really a problem.  That number is 303-277-2112.

The “Odor Hotline”

The noxious odors as you drive along Highway 58 (and sometimes drifting into Golden’s eastern neighborhoods) have been a persistent challenge as long as I’ve served on the City Council.  There are two wastewater plants, the very visible plant just north of Highway 58 and another one within the Coors complex on the south side.  The one on the south side is called the “general wastewater treatment plant” it is used to treat domestic wastewater from the City of Golden, domestic waste from the brewery and other manufacturing operations, and some industrial wastewaters.  The very unpleasant odor is actually coming from the “process wastewater treatment plant” on the north side of the highway, which is used to treat wastewater from the brewery itself.  You can watch the City Council briefing and discussion from a couple of weeks ago (the August 5 City Council Study Session) if you want details, but the punch line is that Coors has made investments and changes in recent years with some apparent improvements, Coors has committed to taking some additional steps over the next few years, and that the long-term answer is basically to enclose the treatment plant. That will probably happen at some point but it is very expensive and so will probably occur after the feds adopt new rules that are in the works so that Coors can address both issues in a single construction project.

It is really helpful, in any case, to let Coors and the City know whenever the odor is particularly noxious.  The “Odor Hotline” is the best way to do that.  Program it into your phone (maybe someone can create an app?) and call every time the smell is really a problem.  That number is 303-277-2112.

City Updates Out-of-District Fire Response Policy

Despite its close historic association with Golden, most of the MillerCoors facilities are actually outside the city limits, and while MillerCoors has traditionally arranged for the Golden Fire Department to provide fire protection services this year the company declined to renew its contract or contract with any other fire protection district. This is a new situation for the city, so City Council recently adopted a new policy to provide clear guidance and billing rates for out-of-district fire responses. Our major concern is that MillerCoors not expect to receive the fire protection services for free that everyone else pays for, especially given the size and hazards associated with their $60 million property. The new policy clearly establishes that our fire department will respond to incidents at Coors when we are requested to do so by Jefferson County (which has jurisdiction over most of the Coors property), and it sets reasonable rates that we will charge for such responses. Although Golden’s fire department is largely volunteer, there are real operational costs. Operating the rigs costs money, we provide a modest pension for the volunteers, and the top line and support staff are full-time, paid employees. There are also huge capital costs involved in maintaining our high level of fire response, including the rigs, the safety equipment, the fire stations, and all of the other equipment required to maintain an effective fire department. The city was able to negotiate a very reasonable contract with CoorsTek (which is a separate company from MillerCoors), and we are still hopeful that we’ll be able to work something out with MillerCoors as well.

The new policy doesn’t impact our mutual aid agreements with other fire departments. If another department asks us to help them out on a fire, we will respond without hesitation and we won’t bill them for the effort, and likewise our neighboring fire districts will provide the same sort of assistance without cost to Golden whenever we need help. These mutual aid agreements are critical because they help ensure that major fire incidents in all of our communities get an aggressive fire suppression response.

Coors Odor Hotline

Believe it or not Coors has set up an Odor Hotline to help them identify when there are odor problems at the wastewater plant off of Highway 58.  I am told they’ve invested quite a bit of time and money over the past year to reduce the intensity and frequency of odor problems, and this helps them continue to improve.

The number is 303-277-2112.