Denver Water to host Gross Reservoir Expansion Project Public Availability Sessions — Wed and Thu

From Denver Water via Twitter and Boulder County:

Denver Water is hosting two Public Availability Sessions this week to encourage residents in the area of Gross Reservoir to come and meet with Denver Water staff to address questions about DW’s Gross Reservoir Expansion Project.

Wednesday, Oct. 7, Noon – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 10. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Coal Creek Canyon Community Center
31528 CO-72, Golden, CO 80403

While not sponsored by Boulder County, the county has offered to spread the word about the meetings as a way for county residents to come have their questions and concerns addressed by Denver Water staff. As one Denver Water official has stated, “We’re very hopeful that this availability session format allows us to talk more directly with individuals about their concerns.”

WISE: Project will impact metro area’s water supply — 7News

Click on a thumbnail below for the WISE system map and Prairie Waters map.

#WISE Water Project Receives Unprecedented Statewide Support — South Metro Water Supply Authority

WISE System Map via the South Metro Water Supply Authority
WISE System Map via the South Metro Water Supply Authority

Here’s the release from the South Metro Water Supply Authority (Russ Rizzo):

The WISE water project today received unprecedented statewide support, becoming the first water infrastructure project in Colorado to receive funding from Basin Roundtables across the state.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board approved $905,000 in state and regional grant funding for the WISE (Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency) project, including funds from seven of the state’s nine Basin Roundtables.

“We are excited and grateful for the broad, statewide support for this important project,” said Eric Hecox, executive director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority, which represents 13 water providers comprising most of Douglas County and a portion of Arapahoe County. “This is a significant part of our region’s plan to transition to a more secure and sustainable water supply, and benefits of WISE extend throughout the region and to the West Slope.”

WISE is a partnership among Aurora Water, Denver Water and South Metro Water to combine available water supplies and system capacities to create a sustainable new water supply. Aurora and Denver will provide fully treated water to South Metro Water on a permanent basis. WISE also will enable Denver Water to access its supplies during periods when it needs to. All of this will be accomplished while allowing Aurora to continue to meet its customers’ current and future needs.

“This project is reflective of the regional and statewide collaboration the State Water Plan calls for to meet the future water needs of Coloradans,” said former State Representative Diane Hoppe, chair of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. “The broad financial support from Basin Roundtables across the state reflects the cooperation and smart approach that the Denver metro area’s leading water providers have taken.”

The Basin Roundtables, created in 2005 with the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act, represent each of the state’s eight major river basins and the Denver metropolitan area. The grants are part of the state’s Water Supply Reserve Accounts program that assists Colorado water users in addressing their critical water supply issues and interests.

Roundtables that have committed funds to WISE so far include:

Metro Basin Roundtable
South Platte Basin Roundtable
North Platte Basin Roundtable
Colorado Basin Roundtable
Arkansas Basin Roundtable
Gunnison Basin Roundtable
Yampa/White/Green Basin Roundtable

“The Colorado Basin applauds the WISE participants for their forward thinking and collaborative approach,” said Jim Pokrandt, chair of the Colorado Basin Roundtable, which includes Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs. “WISE benefits not just the Front Range but the West Slope as well. The project enables the metro region to re-use its trans-mountain supplies, thereby reducing the need to look to other regions for water supply. In addition, the WISE agreement is an integral part of the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement under which the West Slope receives funding to help meet our water project and environmental needs.”

Construction on the WISE project began in June and will continue into 2016. When WISE begins delivering water in 2016:

●The South Denver Metro area will receive a significant new renewable water supply;
●Denver will receive a new backup water supply;
●Aurora will receive funding from partners to help offset its Prairie Waters Project costs and stabilize water rates; and
●The West Slope will receive new funding, managed by the Colorado River Water Conservation District, for water supply, watershed and water quality projects.

Securing a Sustainable Water Supply for South Metro Denver

South Metro Water and its 13 water provider members are executing a plan to transition to renewable supplies. The plan focuses on three areas: conservation and efficiency; infrastructure investment; and partnership among local and regional water suppliers.

The region has made tremendous progress over the past decade, reducing per capita water use by more than 30 percent and adding new renewable water supplies and storage capacity that have significantly decreased reliance on nonrenewable groundwater.

For details on the WISE project as well as South Metro Water’s plan to transition to renewable water supplies, visit

Denver Water to push sustainability with $195M campus redevelopment — Denver Business Journal

Denver Water's planned new administration building via the Denver Business Journal
Denver Water’s planned new administration building via the Denver Business Journal

From the Denver Business Journal (Cathy Proctor):

Its central administration building at its 34.6-acre campus southeast of downtown, between West Sixth and West 12th avenues just east of the freight railroad tracks, pre-dates the computer age.

Jim Lochhead, Denver Water’s CEO, says the administration is the “nerve center” of the organization, and “in the ‘70s, when we built this building there were no computers — now there are.”

The average age of the buildings on the campus is 55 years old, and one of the buildings is 130 years old — an old pump station now converted into a conference center.

So when Denver Water decided that it needed to upgrade for the 21st century, the biggest question was whether the agency should leave its historic location, or stay, Lochhead said.

After a review, the decision was that it was more cost efficient to stay, he told the Denver Business Journal.

So Denver Water is embarking on a four-year, $195 million redevelopment of the campus — and in the process building a showcase for state-of-the-art energy and sustainable water conservation practices, Lochhead said.

Construction is slated to begin in January 2016 and finish in the summer of 2019…

Denver Water has hired Trammell Crow, a real estate developer; Mortenson Construction, which will be the prime general contractor; and RNL Design, which will be the prime architect on the project.

Money to pay for the project will come from the agency’s capital fund, which is supported with bonds that are repaid using revenues from water sales to customers, he said.

Construction will focus first on consolidating equipment, warehouse and maintenance buildings on the north side of the property into new, dedicated buildings on the southern edge of the property, near the Sixth Avenue side. The new administration center will be on the north side of the property, along West 12th Avenue.

Lochhead said Denver Water hopes the new administration center will be certified as LEED Platinum, the highest certification under the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program overseen by the U.S. Green Building Council for buildings that have taken steps to cut water and energy usage at the site.

Lochhead said Denver Water wants the new campus to demonstrate state-of-the-art water conservation techniques, including the capture, treatment and reuse rainwater to irrigate landscape on the site.
That will require the agency to seek a water right for the rainwater from the state’s water courts, he said.

Also, the agency wants to build a mini-water treatment plant to collect and treat water used at the new administration building — and reuse that water, such as from toilets and sinks, for irrigation purposes.

And Lochhead said plans also are in the works to tap into a Denver Water pipeline along West 12th Avenue and couple it with a geothermal heating and cooling system for the new administration building.

After the water is piped through the building to heat it or cool it, depending on the weather, the water will be sent back to the larger pipeline for use by customers, he said.

“We want to be financially responsible and we also have a commitment to sustainability, we’re building a campus that will be here for decades, with the water and energy use that mirrors that sustainability,” he said. “These are concepts that we can prove out and others can use.”

From The Denver Post (Emilie Rusch):

On the revitalized campus, graywater, the gently used water from sinks, clothes washers and showers, will be treated and reused in toilets and irrigation, where potable water isn’t necessary.

Stormwater runoff will be minimized and collected for reuse in irrigation. Rainwater will be harvested.

A geothermal well system, tied into a water conduit on 12th Avenue, will allow the utility to “extract energy from our own drinking water,” Lochhead said.

An “eco machine” in the new administration building’s lobby will look like a greenhouse but will be a working biotreatment system, treating wastewater on-site for irrigation or discharge into the South Platte River.

“We think we can be at the cutting edge, to help prove out a lot of the technology and sustainability concepts that can be replicated at other major developments in the city,” Lochhead said.

Denver Water’s August 2015 ‘Water News’ is hot off the presses

Marston water level during construction
Marston water level during construction

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

Major project in southwest Denver wraps up

Denver Water is wrapping up a major project to improve water quality and dam safety at Marston Forebay, the reservoir that feeds into Marston Treatment Plant.

The $12.5 million project, which began in mid-2014, included building a new outlet works on the north side of the forebay. The new outlet is a tower structure designed to draw water from various levels of the reservoir instead of just one, which will allow operators to send the highest-quality water to the treatment plant.

The project also included:

  • Constructing a platform for the outlet, connected to the dam by a new access bridge.
  • Excavating an underwater channel for moving water to the base of the outlet.
  • Removing outlet towers and aging pipes that passed through the north dam.
  • Reconstructing the north dam’s embankment.
  • Installing upgraded electrical systems and measurement devices.
  • Improving the site by installing new pipes, connections and a drain line.
  • To access the site, crews had to lower Marston’s level by 25 feet, which also allowed us to make improvements to the south dam before we began refilling the reservoir in June 2015. Learn more about the project.

    More Denver Water coverage here.

    Town of Kassler supplied water for a thirsty, growing Denver — The Colorado Statesman

    A rusted sign at the bottom of Waterton Canyon tells the story of what was once the hub of Denver Water’s treatment -- via Denver Water
    A rusted sign at the bottom of Waterton Canyon tells the story of what was once the hub of Denver Water’s treatment — via Denver Water

    From The Colorado Statesman (Marianne Woodland):

    Kassler was a company town, and the company was Denver Water.

    The town, named for Edwin Stebbins Kassler, one of the board members of the private company that preceded Denver Water, was established in 1901 as one of the first filtration plants for water coming from the South Platte River through Waterton Canyon.

    When Denver was founded, along the banks of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, residents got their water directly from the river or from riverside wells. But that wasn’t the best, or cleanest way to get water. People bathed in it and washed their clothes in it and, as the city grew, the river began to fill with industrial waste. In addition, as more and more residents moved to Denver, the river could no longer provide enough water for residents, especially during a drought.

    The solution came at the turn of the 20th Century: go upstream on the Platte, into Platte Canyon, now known as Waterton Canyon. To clean the water, the private company that eventually became Denver Water built the first “English slow-sand treatment system” west of the Mississippi, at Kassler, which could filter up to 50 million gallons of water a day.

    Construction on the Kassler system began in 1901. But its distance from Denver, and the fact it had to be in operation around the clock, meant workers needed to be close by. Thus was born the town of Kassler. Workers built a boarding house, a bunkhouse, and eight single-family rental cottages, since it wasn’t only single men who worked at Kassler. They also built an administration building, a barn for the horses and a blacksmith, a schoolhouse with room for eight grades, and something called a measuring house, where engineers governed how much water was pouring down the pipes.

    Water was filtered through four sand “beds,” or “cribs,” totaling a bit more than 10 acres. The sand was layered on top of gravel, with pipes beneath. There were cast-iron pipes, still in use today, and wood-stave pipes, which looked barrels, but without ends. Water would flow through the sand, removing particulates, then through gravel and into perforated pipes and then on to Denver in ditches.

    Workers had to manually remove silt that emerged from the water and into the sand, labor Geist described as “back-breaking,” though by the 1950s, tractors had taken over cleaning the silt.

    Working at Kassler was sometimes a family affair, according to Geist. Generations worked there, with jobs passing down from one generation to the next. One family, the Swans, were among the first to live at the town and also among the last to live there, when the plant was decommissioned in 1985. The last house still standing in Kassler was once their home.

    Today, what remains of Kassler is the administration building, the Swan House, and the barn, all used for educational tours. Geist said Denver Water is putting together a plan, based on input from the community, to determine whether the buildings will be restored, set up as a museum, or used some other way.

    The final presentation in the series “Colorado’s Water Stories” is 7-8 p.m. Aug. 18 at the History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, in Denver. It’s a chance to meet the people behind the Living West exhibit and hear their stories about water and its importance to the state. The event is free.

    More Denver Water coverage here

    Fluoride dosing: “Why should we impose it on people?” — Paul Connett

    Calcium fluoride
    Calcium fluoride

    From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

    Anti-fluoridation activists blitzed the Denver Water Board on Wednesday, pressing their case that adding fluoride to water to cut cavities is harmful “mass medication.”

    “Why should we impose it on people?” Fluoride Action Network director Paul Connett said.

    Denver is the latest target of a campaign that in the past five years has persuaded 200 cities worldwide — including Snowmass Village, Pagosa Springs, Palisade and Montrose — to stop adding fluoride to water.

    Water board members told the roughly 130 activists who packed a hearing that they are reviewing current practices and will make a decision by Aug. 26.

    The campaign run by FAN and “We Are Change Colorado” has gained enough traction that Colorado public health director Larry Wolk and Gov. John Hickenlooper launched a counter-attack before the hearing. They issued a statement recommending that all communities add fluoride to water supplies.

    Today about 72 percent of Coloradans on municipal systems receive water containing natural or added fluoride…

    Activists contend fluoride is “neurotoxic” and weakens bones. They say children are grossly over-exposed. Too much sugar, not lack of fluoride, is the problem, Connett said. They denounced government assertions that fluoride is necessary to prevent tooth decay as propaganda…

    In April, federal health officials changed the national standard for the first time since 1962, citing recent studies finding people get fluoride from other sources such as toothpaste. Instead of a range between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams per liter, the feds now recommend a concentration of 0.7 milligrams per liter.

    State dental director Katya Mauritson cited a 2005 state study that found adding fluoride saves residents $61 a year for dental care at a cost of less than $2 per customer to utilities.

    More water treatment coverage here.