Colorado Public Works Journal, Fall 2022

LARGE COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY Southeast Metro Stormwater Authority - Wetland Vegitation Harvesting to Reduce Nutrients in the Cherry Creek Watershed 16 Colorado Public Works Journal MEDIUM COMMUNITY City of Loveland - Mattress and Box Spring Recycling The Southeast Metro Stormwater Authority (SEMSWA) service area is bisected by Cherry Creek, a complex and dynamic watershed with abundant natural resources, varied wildlife habitat, and multifaceted recreational usage. A focal point for the southeast metro region, this urban reach of Cherry Creek offers a number of beneficial uses to surrounding communities including an extensive trail network, water supply to the reservoir, and ecological diversity. Preserving, protecting, and promoting water quality in the basin is a high priority for SEMSWA and other Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permittees and agencies in the region. Identifying novel strategies to eliminate and reduce elevated nutrients in the Cherry Creek watershed can improve water quality throughout the watershed. The City of Loveland Solid Waste Division, after many years of leading the State of Colorado in residential recycling, saw a need to keep large bulky mattresses out of the landfill. Beginning in June of 2021, we ran a 3-month pilot program, partnering with Spring Back, accepting mattresses and box springs at our Loveland Recycling Center, and charging $20/piece (queen size bed with a mattress and box spring = $40). At the beginning, we were unsure if the public would pay this cost, especially considering that they could drive it up the road 7 miles and put it in the landfill for a third to half that cost. To our surprise, in the first month of the program, we recycled 50 pieces. At the end of the pilot program (June, July, and August) we had diverted 197 pieces from the landfill, which equated to 11,700 lbs. (5.85 tons). By the end of 2021, we diverted 513 pieces from the landfill, equating to 30,359 lbs. (15.18 tons) From January 1, 2022 through March 31, 2022 (just 3 months) we eclipsed and exceeded our total number of pieces from 2021, collecting 547 pieces in the first quarter of 2022. After a full year of the program (June 2021 – May 2022) we have collected a total of 1,979 pieces, totaling 111,692lbs. (59 tons), keeping all of this material out of the Larimer County Landfill. From the pilot program now, this project has been wildly successful, beyond anything we imagined. We were amazed that people would pay a higher price to recycle their bed pieces, versus the lower cost alternative to landfill their pieces originally. This project has kept hundreds of thousands of pounds of material from our landfill. Reducing nitrogen and phosphorus in the Cherry Creek basin through a data driven annual wetland vegetation harvesting program allows for SEMSWA to analyze, prioritize, and measure water quality improvements to the watershed. Prioritizing enhanced vegetation management not only restores capacity to channels and ponds but also provides water quality benefits in an ecologically sustainable approach. Stream health in the Cherry Creek watershed is vital for continued recreation, water supply to the reservoir, and the enhancement of natural resources.

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