Aspen Tap program to expand
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
ASPEN – The city’s Aspen Tap program will expand this summer with the arrival and installation of three new water-filling stations, environmental health specialist Ashley Cantrell said Tuesday.
The stations – which supply free municipal drinking water to residents and visitors during the warmer months – will be built at Aspen Golf Club, Francis Whitaker Park and Koch Lumber Park. Last year, stations were installed at Wagner Park, Rio Grande Park and Conner Park behind City Hall.
The water was shut off in late September because of freezing night temperatures. The stations were dormant throughout the winter but will be turned back on sometime early next week, Cantrell said.
The City Council on Monday approved a $34,600 contract with Excavation Services Inc. of Carbondale to build the three stations. Last year, Ajax Mechanical Services, a plumbing contractor based in New Castle, won the contract to build the city’s first three stations.
“The first three that we put in only required a plumber. The next three require an excavator,” Cantrell said.
The city is paying $10,000 to GlobalTap, an international provider of water-refilling equipment, for the stations themselves. Excavation Services Inc. will install them in early June, Cantrell said.
“Part of their proceeds go to providing clean drinking water in countries where it’s not readily available,” she said of GlobalTap.
The Aspen Tap program, which got under way early last year, is designed to wean residents and visitors alike off of commercially sold water in plastic bottles made from oil products. The environmentalist community deems the bottles to be environmentally unfriendly.
“We’ve gotten a lot of attention nationally for the program,” Cantrell said.
Last year, users took nearly 1,000 gallons of free water from the first three stations, she said. They were installed in early July.
“With a longer season this year, more publicity and having them in more visible places, people will use a lot more water,” she said.
With the city warning of a summer drought and asking residents, businesses and its own departments to start conserving water, it might seem like an odd time to install new water stations around town and give the stuff away.
But Cantrell said the drinking water supplied by the filling stations wouldn’t amount to enough of a concern should the city be faced with declaring an official drought and implementing additional conservation measures, such as raising water rates.
“Water conservation (in the event of a drought) is mainly aimed at landscaping and irrigation uses,” she said. “Drinking water is obviously the most important use of our water, and providing drinking water is really important to the city and one of the things that we really pride ourselves on.”
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