Aspen residents source their water from a mixture of municipal water and private wells. Of course, there are different potential issues in each. Residents on city water might be concerned with hardness and chlorine byproducts created during the disinfection process, whereas residents on a well might be concerned with inorganic analytes like iron or sulfate.
The municipal water primarily comes from Castle and Maroon Creeks. These creeks originate in certified wilderness areas in the White River National Forest, but are susceptible to contamination from superfund sites, abandoned mines and past mining activity, leaking storage sites or septic systems, and natural bacterium. This water is treated with chlorine and fluoride by the City. But at Aspen WaterWise, our goal is to provide pure water – we remove all contaminants rather than injecting our supplies with disinfectants. You can be sure that WaterWise will prevent your family or colleagues from experiencing any side effects associated with disinfectants and their byproducts.
Private wells are not regulated by municipalities, as they are not protected under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This means that the minerals and contaminants that compromise your well are unknown until it’s tested – and like municipalities, your water should be tested regularly. Aspen WaterWise is here to help make sure your water is safe for drinking, cooking, and bathing, no matter what land uses .
Present-day activities contribute heavily to our Valley’s fluctuating water quality. Bacteria levels can change with animal activity and snow melt, so coliform and E. Coli testing is advised annually. Residents might notice increases of nitrates throughout the year, especially near farming or livestock operations because of fertilizer applications and animal waste.
However, residents may also experience the effects of the number of minerals generally found in our water. Some contaminants do not affect the taste, smell, or appearance of water, but may leave stains or tint things from bathroom fixtures, to your hair or clothes. Aspen WaterWise’s solutions for reducing presence of elements like copper, iron, manganese, and zinc prevent these blue, green, red, and black stains.
See the City of Aspen’s 2020 water quality report here.
More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791) or by visiting their website.
Our current water quality can be dictated by population growth, urbanization, mining, agricultural practices, recreation, and even river modifications like the construction of dams or diversions. This article by Colorado State University describes in detail how these processes mentioned above affect our water resources. In the areas between and surrounding Glenwood Springs and Aspen, we have found and successfully treated lead, bacteria, and other harmful contaminants. You can reach out to Aspen WaterWise with any questions or concerns about your unique water quality.
While these processes can increase the health-concerning contaminants in our supplies, there are also a number of minerals that can be classified as “nuisance” in the home or workplace. Of course, calcium and magnesium cause frustrating hard water buildup, which can decrease the lifespan of common household appliances. We have minerals like silica and iron that can cause scratching or staining on surfaces that come in contact with water. Another nuisance contaminant we frequently treat is sulfur, which produces foul smells throughout the home, and can sometimes penetrate the fabric of your clothing. Aspen WaterWise has 35+ years of experience treating these issues.
Generally, Colorado has hard water because of its rich subterranean mineral content. Water throughout Colorado is considered moderately hard-very hard, depending on where you are. The levels of hardness can sometimes vary with the seasons: water can be slightly harder in the winter when cold temperatures freeze water supplies, allowing water to absorb more minerals. Systems that rely on groundwater (like most of the systems in Garfield, Eagle, and Pitkin counties) have greater hardness than systems that rely on surface water (like much of the Front Range) because minerals will dissolve into the supply as the water moves through soil and rocks. Contact Aspen WaterWise to discover how these minerals can impact your daily life, and to learn ways to monitor and control which minerals you allow into your family’s household or your company’s workplace.