Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District Engineer Mike Weber undertook the Non-point Source Project at the request of LAVWCD Manager Jay Winner to get ahead of possible regulations to be placed on agriclture for water quality reasons

 Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District Engineer Mike Weber undertook the Non-point Source Project at the request of LAVWCD Manager Jay Winner to get ahead of possible regulations to be placed on agriclture for water quality reasons. It is the belief of both Winner and Weber that research will show the contaminants coming off agricultural land, chiefly selenium, will be shown to be the result of deep water percolation above the shale level, not of agricultural practices. They hoped to establish a baseline in Phase 1 by using a relatively isolated area with few modern improvements, then see what effect installing modern sprinkler systems would have on the runoff contaminants.
The project ran from March 15 to November 15, in a farming area near McClave, Colorado. A non-point source is an area not a municipality or business that might be contributing contaminants to the water supply, obviously agriculture. Weber’s staff began sampling of the water as it flowed into the field, as it flowed out of the field, and in the drainage ditch on March 15. The year 1 sampling was concluded on November 15. Forty-five sets of samples were taken, averaging 12 sites per set, four samples per site. The total number of samples taken was 1800. The total number of constituents analyzed per sample was 32 and the total number of data values 192,000.
Weber discovered that the most economical way to analyze the samples was to send them to a laboratory in Nebraska, which had the lowest cost with the fastest turn-around time of any lab availble (only two other labs could even do the job). The process was relatively successful in identifying selenium, arsenic and uranium, but not so successful with nitrites and nitrates. These samples had to be maintained at a specific temperature and reach the lab within a short period of time. The total cost of sampling in Year 1 was $57,000 March through October. The cost per sample was $32.
 Findings showed low levels of tested contaminants in the water going into the field and the water coming off the field on the surface. However, by the time the water reached the drainage ditch, the contaminants, especially selenium, were very high. Weber believes the water percolating deeply through the ground before reaching the drainage ditch is picking up the contaminants from the shale impervious layer beneath the fields. If this is so, sprinkler systems that keep the water above that level will help to reduce these contaminants.
Resolution 212-85 specifies that if a non-point source seeks to establish best practices to improve water quality by voluntary efforts, by July 2022, regulations will not be needed. That would please agriculture, a non-point source.