(EL PASO COUNTY, Colo.) — On Wednesday night, Jan. 11, ranchers and homeowners filled a meeting in Calhan. Their concerns were about a proposal by the Cherokee Metropolitan District (CMD) to withdraw water in the Upper Black Squirrel Creek Designated Groundwater Basin.

In an effort to ease these concerns, the general manager of CMD outlined their plan.

“We are co-applicants for what’s called a replacement plan to the state of Colorado Groundwater Commission to ask permission to produce water that we’re already recharging into an alluvial basin,” said Amy Lathen.

This means that up to 22 wells are being considered to tap into the aquifer.

“In this particular case, because we put back more water than we take out, we are asking the state to give us credits to do that. To be able to produce that same amount of water equal to the amount that we take out,” Lathen said.

Because CMD said they are putting out so much water, Lathen said this shouldn’t dry up anyone’s wells.

“In most cases, this will have absolutely no impact.”

A lot of people living in the area or nearby, voiced their concerns on Wednesday about sewage ending up in the aquifer, which they would then have to bathe in and drink.

“This is not raw wastewater,” Lathen said. “This is treated wastewater effluent that is discharged according to state and federal guidelines and monitored constantly.”

CMD said there is a plan in place to unveil a new reverse osmosis system to further purify water.

“It’s an extraordinary new state-of-the-art system that’s going in and will be functional in just a couple of months,” Lathen said.

To be approved, CMD will have to prove to the Colorado Groundwater Commission that the Replacement Plan will not cause injury to water rights and will not impair water quality.