A trip underground, into The Twilight Zone

You’ve probably never heard of Denver Water’s vaults, much less seen one. Neither had I. Until now.

November 13, 2015 | By: Jimmy Luthye

Vault.

The word itself evokes a sense of hidden mystery and intrigue. Naturally, I was surprised to find out about hundreds of Denver Water “vaults” buried underground throughout our service area. When I asked around, it seemed many of my colleagues also knew very little about these creepy little structures.

There was only one way to find out, and since I’m the new guy, it was up to me to delve into the dark corners of this hair-raising topic.

This photo shows a recently upgraded Denver Water vault.
This photo shows a recently upgraded Denver Water vault.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Vaults are underground structures designed to give Denver Water crews a quick access point to water pipelines that send fresh water to homes, businesses, parks, golf courses and other locations in Denver and the suburbs we serve. With this easy access, crews are able to control water pressure, relay information and make adjustments on the fly.
  • Denver Water has a stable, yet aging infrastructure, and many of these vaults need upgrades (these are already underway).

Mark Almond, project manager for Denver Water’s vault projects, is leading the charge to improve these pivotal access points, helping them last far into the future.

Throwing caution to the wind, Mark agreed to take us underground into a yet-to-be upgraded vault. And thanks to video, you get to come along for the ride. As Rod Serling liked to say, “You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas.”

You’ve just crossed over into … THE TWILIGHT ZONE (na na na na, na na na na).

Contributing: Steve Snyder

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