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Posted on: March 18, 2020

Foundation Work for New City Offices Impacted ACES Ponds at Hallam Lake

Foundation Work for New City Offices Impacted ACES Ponds at Hallam Lake
City project team and ACES are working together to take immediate steps to mitigate disturbance

Media Contact:
Kathleen Wanatowicz, Project Public Information
P: (970) 618-5114 | E:

Aspen, CO –March 18, 2020 – On Wednesday, March 17 during foundation work for the new City offices, the contractor working for the City of Aspen on micro piling activities inadvertently intersected an underdrain system below the Rio Grande parking garage. This caused a mix of cement grout to be introduced into the City’s dewatering well.

The underdrain system flows to the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) ponds at Hallam Lake and the Roaring Fork River. This system is one of the water sources for the ACES ponds.

“Some grout from the foundation work traveled to ACES upper and lower pond locations at Hallam Lake,” said Project Manager for City of Aspen Robert Schober. “Our project team took immediate actions to assess the damage and activate a clean-up action plan. We are working very closely with ACES on responding quickly.  We take our environmental stewardship very seriously and mitigating this is our project team’s first priority right now.”  

This incident has been reported to the State of Colorado and Colorado Parks and Wildlife in accordance to best practices in water quality protections.

The City has ceased all micro piling and foundation work.  The project team is taking immediate steps to ensure this does not happen in the future.

April Long, City of Aspen Clean River Program Manager, states “The City is taking this very seriously as the health of the river, lake, wildlife and ecosystem are fundamental to Aspen’s water quality standards, quality of life, and environmental values.”

“The impacted water resulted in the loss and injury of dozens of fish and left a film over the upper ponds vegetation and substrate. The water is running clear today as all activities that caused this have ceased; however, there is some remaining evidence that appears in and around the ponds” added Long.

The City’s drinking water quality is not impacted.
The quantities of disturbance are unknown currently. The City of Aspen will provide an update on the cleanup efforts and coordination with ACES as more information is available.


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