EPA Reduces Limits on PFOS and PFOA in Drinking Water

The City of Thornton has recently reported detecting PFOA and PFOS in their drinking water many times above the EPA limit. Admittedly, in June of 2022 the EPA drastically lowered the acceptable limit of these substances due to negative impacts on human health. This contaminated water appears to be coming from groundwater wells. The presence of these substances will cause tremendous treatment costs to groundwater providers and their customers.

Greeley has thus far avoided this problem due to the use of its surface mountain water supply. Most of this water is “first use” meaning that no other city has used it (and possibly contaminated it) and returned it to the river. However, Greeley’s recent purchase of Terry Ranch groundwater may present us with PFOS and other contamination problems in the future when Greeley starts drawing groundwater out of the Terry Ranch aquifer.

Terry Ranch is known to have Uranium contamination above the current EPA limit (which the EPA may further lower in the future as it did with PFOS) and the possibility of future TCE contamination from a missile silo in southern Wyoming which is already contaminating some of Cheyenne’s water supply. All of these substances require very expensive treatment to remove from the citizens’ drinking water.

Or will the burden of filtering be placed on the individual homeowner? Some middle and lower income homeowners may be unable to afford this treatment. Many of these homeowners have already stopped watering their lawns due to the high cost of Greeley’s water, which is near the top of all water providers along the Front Range. Twenty years ago Greeley had one of the most economical and efficiently run water systems along the Front Range. What has changed?

Greeley owns 15,000 acre feet of conditional water decrees on the Poudre River which could have been put into a staged expansion of Milton Seaman Reservoir which the City of Greeley decided not to pursue in favor of buying Terry Ranch groundwater.

Let’s hope that Greeley does not decide to sell off these Poudre River decrees, as we may need them in the future if the Terry Ranch groundwater does not deliver as expected or becomes too expensive to treat to EPA standards.


Welcome to all our new followers.

Please tell your friends and neighbors to give us a look! savegreeleyswater.com lets you know about our previous ballot initiative activities, which were a labor of love on behalf of the Citizens of Greeley, to keep their drinking water quality top notch. You can also find much of the research that led us to prepare our ballot initiatives here. And we will be providing more information and insights as they become available.

As I’m sure you are aware, our Water, Sewer, and Storm Water bills keep going up! Apartment buildings continue to be constructed in Greeley! Expect this to continue far into the future!


Developers are allowed to buy Terry Ranch water credits for $36,500/acre foot in lieu of bringing real water to the City. This rapid development creates a permanent water draw that will quickly deplete our real water supply such as the Poudre River, CBT, GLIC, and Windy Gap.

When our real water supply is depleted, will that uranium contaminated water from Terry Ranch actually be available? Will the City of Greeley honor its commitment to remove the uranium, and other harmful contaminants, before sending it to the customers?

Citizens: you must pay attention and be prepared to hold City of Greeley officials accountable for providing quality drinking water to all customers!

Remembering Mayor Bob Markley

What I remember about Bob Markley is that he showed great leadership as Mayor of Greeley. Specifically, in 1986, Greeley’s high mountain reservoirs were at risk of being sold to Thornton.  Thornton had been secretly buying up farmland in Larimer and Weld Counties for the water rights. 

In the midst of this activity, the Water Director and Water Board recommended the sale of our high mountain reservoirs, including Barnes Meadow, Peterson, Hourglass, Twin Lakes and Comanche, to Thornton.  The reservoirs needed some maintenance and the Water Board thought it better to sell them than fix them.  The citizens got wind of this plan and protested.  They brought forth a Charter Change Amendment to require voter approval to sell Greeley’s water.  The citizens obtained over 2,600 signatures which were sufficient to bring this issue to a vote.  The City Attorney claimed the citizens actions were not legal since they had not included an ordinance with the Charter Change Amendment.  The City Attorney’s claim turned out to be inaccurate. 

However, Mayor Markley saved the day when he respected the citizens’ wishes and broke a tie vote of the City Council to deny the sale to Thornton.  We still enjoy that water today.  In fact, we drink water from Barnes Meadow all winter. 

I am forever grateful for the leadership that Mayor Markley exhibited and the respect he showed the citizens. 

And the citizens were not wrong!  The maintenance was done on the reservoirs, and they are a tremendous asset to Greeley to this day.  Depending on how it is valued, that water is worth between $293 million and $691 million today.

I also want to thank the Markley Family for signing our Charter Change Amendment Petitions along the Independence Day Parade route this summer.   

God Bless Mayor Markley!

Who is the Special Interest Group?

During the November 2021 election campaign, Save Greeley’s Water was labeled by opponents as a Special Interest Group. Check out the Campaign Finance Reports for Citizens for Securing Greeley’s Charter Committee (cash contributions of about $100,000). This is the group that opposed the 2G and 2H Charter Amendments that would have given citizens a say in critical water issues. Then look at the Campaign Finance Reports for Citizens for City of Greeley Charter Amendments 17-9 and 17-10 (aka 2G and 2H): (no cash contributions, and non-cash contributions totaling about $1,200 in ads and printing).

You can determine for yourself who the special interest group was and is.

Make sure to look at the detail in the reports, but to break it out a bit for you:

From the amount of money they personally contributed, it appears that the Real Estate Community, the Akin Family, and the Greeley Water Board Members had a huge stake in the outcome of this election!

Guest Column Submitted to the Greeley Tribune 10/24/21


By John and Mary Gauthiere

The Save Greeley’s Water (SGW) movement actually started in 1986 when Greeley decided to sell its high mountain reservoirs to Thornton.  It just didn’t have a name yet.  Concerned Citizens started a Charter Amendment Petition Drive to bring any water sale to a vote.  Our lead person, Joe Howard, spoke with Judge Donald Carpenter, son of Delph Carpenter, who thought Greeley should never sell its water.  He referred us to Judge William West who wrote the proposed Charter Amendment.

The citizens obtained 2,669 signatures for an Amendment to the City Charter to take any proposed sale of water rights or long term leases to the voters.  The Citizens were able to bring political pressure on the Council such that the Council voted 4-3 against the sale.  We still enjoy that water today!

The City’s serious pursuit of Terry Ranch, an aquifer contaminated with uranium and other potential hazards, prompted the resurgence of the Citizen effort this year.

A Tribune article from March 2019 states that Roy Otto was in serious discussions with Thornton to move their WS&S water across Larimer County since they couldn’t obtain a permit from Larimer County.  It was proposed that Greeley lease or sell Thornton space in our Bellvue Water Treatment Plant and associated pipelines to move Thornton’s water across Larimer County to the pipeline Thornton is building at Windsor.  In order to accommodate Thornton in Greeley’s system, Greeley would have to get some demand out of the Bellvue system.  Hence Terry Ranch!  The perfect solution!  Not for Greeley Citizens benefit, but for the benefit of Thornton!  If Greeley could provide Terry Ranch water for its Citizens, there would be room to accommodate Thornton.

Much research was undertaken.  Meetings with Water Board members, staff and consultants occurred. Greeley closed on Terry Ranch in April 2021.  SGW doesn’t think the City made a good decision.  This doesn’t only pertain to the quality of the groundwater purchased, but the involvement of Talkot Capital, an Investment Firm owned by the Akin Family.  Wingfoot is their surrogate.

This Firm intends to take millions of dollars of profit from Greeley Citizens.  This is what investment firms do.  When a private party gets involved in public projects, the private party gets the profit and the public gets exploited.  Greeley has never “financed” a water purchase this way before.  For these and other reasons, SGW decided to move forward with Charter Change Amendments to give the Citizens some power over critical water decisions.

Amendment 17-9 (aka 2G) requires a public vote to sell water rights or facilities or lease them for the long term. An independent engineering study, made available to the public, and a public hearing must be held on the measure before the vote.

Amendment 17-10 (aka 2H) requires a public vote to buy recycled wastewater or groundwater and deliver it through Greeley’s water system.  Ditto on the engineering study. 

That is the totality of the charter changes!  No special elections required, with proper management of the Water & Sewer Department.  No super majority vote required to pass measures under these amendments. 

It is very disappointing that the City has resorted to the use of scare tactics to discourage the Citizens from voting In Favor of these Amendments.  The Council’s Ballot Titles are Deceptive and Not Worthy of being presented to Greeley Citizens.

SGW wants water rates to be low.  Terry Ranch infrastructure and treatment costs will cause rates to skyrocket!

Citizens, Don’t Listen to the City’s Propaganda or the Greeley Tribune Opinion.  If you want a Voice in the Water your Family Drinks, Vote Yes on 2G/2H.   

Refuting the City’s Website Claims on 2G and 2H

According to the City of Greeley’s website:

 Charter Amendments 17-9 and 17-10 “would require the city to hold elections on water-related matters, putting operational questions on the ballot that must pass by a majority of all registered voters, regardless of voter turnout to the elections. The changes could delay or suspend long-term water leases, limit the use of leases with farmers interested in selling their water now but not yet done farming, and limit Greeley’s position in the water purchasing market. The changes duplicate the state law that already requires a vote for any sale or trade of a waterworks or utility asset. The changes also would require an election prior to using groundwater or recycled wastewater for drinking or irrigation (non-potable) use. The proposed changes would also require that an engineering study of the lease, sale or trade be performed and published at least sixty (60) days before the election.”

Does the City really consider the buying and selling of our water to be an “operational question”? We consider an operational question to be how to use the resources we already have in the most efficient manner possible, while providing the best quality product to the Citizens. We do not consider selling our water assets or buying a lower quality of water than we already have, to be an “operational question”.

City officials, please cite the State Law that Amendments 17-9 and 17-10 would be duplicating. We can’t seem to find it. With this argument, the City is trying to lull the public back to sleep. “Don’t you worry now, public. Everything is taken care of.”

If there is such a State Law, why didn’t it come into play when the City tried to sell our high mountain reservoirs to Thornton in 1986? And why didn’t it come into play when, over the years, Greeley sold half of its Windy Gap water to other front range cities? Windy Gap water is wholly consumable, which makes it more valuable than some of our other water rights, and could have been stored in the Chimney Hollow Reservoir, which has been permitted and is now under construction.

What is wrong with requiring a vote of the public before selling or changing the source of our water? And before the City makes such a huge decision that will affect the Citizens, what is wrong with requiring an “independent” engineering study and having it published and available for the public’s scrutiny 60 days before the election. Or does the City want to be able to churn our water rights all year, just like some stockbrokers churn stocks, to generate commissions? This shouldn’t happen!

The City’s ballot language that “the ballot that must pass by a majority of all registered voters, regardless of voter turnout to the elections” is not correct. But then why did the City Attorney interpret 17-9 and 17-10’s language “a majority vote of the registered electors” in this way? Well, to answer my own question, attorneys try to interpret language to the benefit of their client, in this case the City of Greeley. It appears they also tried to misstate the intention of the petitioners.

However, according to Robert’s Rules of Order, “In parliamentary procedure, the term ‘majority’ simply means ‘more than half.’   As it relates to a vote, a majority vote is more than half of the votes cast. Abstentions or blanks are excluded in calculating a majority vote. Also, the totals do not include votes cast by someone not entitled to vote or improper multiple votes by a single member.”

It appears that the City Officials, and other involved parties, are treating Greeley, “the gem of the prairie” as their play-thing. They are having a big party with the accumulated wealth of the Citizens, and the Citizens are not invited to that party. Just like the big Gala up at Terry Ranch in May after they closed that deal with Wingfoot.

We didn’t get our invitations, did you?


JOHN GAUTHIERE as MAYOR will see that the CHARTER AMENDMENTS 17-9 & 17-10 are implemented for the CITIZENS’ BENEFIT