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Drinking Water Quality on the Eastern Plains

Coloradans pride themselves on the quality of their drinking water, most of which originates high up in the Rocky Mountains. But many communities on the Eastern Plains have water that not only tastes bad, it is out of compliance with federal drinking water standards. As part of Connecting the Drops, our series on water issues in the state, Maeve Conran reports on efforts to improve water in Eastern Colorado 

Sterling Water Treatment Plantweb 

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Pair Sound with Sight 

Jeff Reeves
Jeff Reeves is Sterling's Utility Manager. He says the city now has water that is well within federal water quality standards. In addition, the reverse osmosis process has also improved the state.
Ron Falco
Ron Falco manages the Safe Drinking Water Program under the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He and other state officials are working with communities struggling to come into compliance with federal drinking water standards.
David Beck
David Beck is the water treatment plant operator for the City of Sterling.
Control Panel Sterling Plantweb
Computers in Sterling's control room allow operators to monitor the city's reverse osmosis system— the machinery that removes uranium and radium.
Sterling Water Treatment Plantweb
The City of Sterling spent $30 million on a water treatment plant that went operations in November 2014.
Waste Water Storage Pump
Reverse osmosis forces water through a membrance, trapping contaminants which then form a concentrated brine. This results in a 15 percent loss in usable water. Utilities manager Jeff Reeves says the concentrated waste brine is pumped into an underground reservoir that is below an impermeable layer. 

Take the Next Step: Read & Get Involved

The Colorado Foundation for Water Education wants to help you speak fluent water. Check out the following: 

Connecting the Drops Partners

Connecting the Drops is a radio collaboration between the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and Colorado Community Radio Stations KGNU, KDNK and KRCC.

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 Support for 2016 programming comes from CoBank