Denver Direct: Urban Drool

Monday, September 17, 2012

Urban Drool

from Tom Anthony

at the “Heron Pond” meeting last Wednesday we heard the city civil engineering staff use the term “urban drool” to describe the storm water detention they wanted to place into the American Smelting and Refining slag heap.  The lead engineer scoffed at the idea of anyone going fishing in the city unless they intended to throw it back (or throw it up.)

Urban Drool

Denverites might be surprised to know their Greenway system is fueled by none other than what civil engineers call “Urban Drool.”  This is storm drain runoff which we pretend is a river.

The Platte River has no dedicated flow through Denver, so it’s officially nothing but an irrigation ditch.  The fact that it carries treated sewage, windshield washer, ice melt and sand, waste oil and household trivia, not to mention unmentionables from Lowry Landfill, the Federal Center and (thankfully downstream) the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, not to mention Rocky Flats, the Argo Mine, the Argo Smelter (did I mention a few other unmentionables?) should be no surprise to the hippies of the ’70’s (remember those cool coffee tables?  I didn’t think so.)

However, it’s a bit close to home when the city engineers tell you they want to put a permanent “urban drool” site into your neighborhood, on top of a bunch of smelter waste.  It makes you realize just how acclimated we’ve all become to being dumped on.

In Globeville many organizations have made what appears to be a permanent cash flow out of community degradation.  Apparently the “powers that be” figure everyone else will feel guilty about how downtrodden the north neighborhoods are, and therefore every non profit in the city has us on the “shill” radar for guilt money.  How enlightening is it to realize the entire city is essentially being spat upon by the suburbs (otherwise, how do you explain the official term “urban drool?”)

Going a step further, it means the folks in Castle Pines are correct:  they are giving their children a better opportunity than what we in urban metro can.  Consequently, when they conspire to get the taxpayers to make Chatfield Dam into a water storage facility for new suburban sprawl rather than an urban flood control project, and do so without any dedicated source of water while having the rest of us pay for the “hoped for” storage, they’re actually simply being good parents.

As to folks living in Globeville, we’re obviously lower down in the evolutionary process.  After all, who would let their children frolic around a bunch of drool?