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Colorado Parks and Wildlife announces new systems to protect waters this boating season

CPW said tankless water heater decontamination systems are more effective in killing off harmful aquatic nuisance species (ANS).

DENVER — It’s boating season, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) announced installations of upgraded tankless water heater decontamination systems for boaters at 27 of their facilities beginning this year to help keep the waters clean.

These new tankless systems will replace heated power washers, which have been used since their introduction in 2008. The pilot program for tankless systems launched in 2018.

CPW said the pilot program was the first of its kind and that it has proven to be extremely effective when compared to the power washers.

In replacing the power washers, Colorado’s waters will be better protected and boater experience will improve during aquatic nuisance species inspections, CPW said.

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ANS inspections are mandatory in Colorado – aquatic nuisance species (ANS) are organisms that disrupt the ecological stability of waters they infest, like lakes, rivers and ponds. Beyond doing ecological damage, these species can impact recreational, commercial and agricultural uses of the water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Inspections are required for motorized or trailered watercraft entering Colorado and prior to launching on most public waters within the state.

“The science upon which our decontamination procedures are based involves exposing aquatic organisms to consistent water temperatures to achieve mortality,” CPW ANS manager Robert Walters said. “When compared to heated power washers, these tankless water heater-based systems produce a much more consistent temperature output making them a more effective tool for decontaminating invasive species.”

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CPW said the benefits of tankless systems include consistent temperature output, increasing decontamination efficacy, higher flow rates for efficiency and easier maintenance.

They attribute some benefits to boaters, like silent operation, which allows for better communication with boaters. Tankless systems don’t have pressure bursts, CPW said, which can damage boats.

“We are confident these upgrades will make the decontamination process more efficient, effective and pleasant for decontaminators and boaters alike,” said Walters.

CPW is investing $500,000 to upgrade 27 facilities to these new systems this year.

If you’re planning on being on the water this year, CPW requires boaters to purchase an ANS stamp when registering their craft to protect state waters.

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