$650 million makeover on tap

New treatment plant and high-capacity pipeline part of one of the largest renovation projects in Denver Water history.

August 22, 2017 | By: Jay Adams

Denver Water is launching a major construction project in Jefferson County, including building a state-of-the-art treatment plant next to Ralston Reservoir, north of Golden, Colorado.

The new treatment plant is the centerpiece of the North System Renewal, a series of projects to upgrade the infrastructure that brings water from the West Slope to the Front Range.

With a projected cost of more than $650 million, the project includes upgrading pipes and valves inside Ralston Dam, building an 8.5-mile water pipeline, repurposing Moffat Treatment Plant and building the new Northwater Treatment Plant.

“The North System was built back in the 1930s and is in need of repair,” said Bob Mahoney, chief engineering officer at Denver Water. “Upgrading the whole system ranks among the biggest renovation projects in Denver Water history.”

Replacing Moffat

The new treatment plant will replace Moffat Treatment Plant in Lakewood — the oldest of Denver Water’s four water treatment facilities.

Moffat Treatment Plant in Lakewood is Denver Water’s oldest.
Moffat Treatment Plant in Lakewood is Denver Water’s oldest active water treatment facility.

“Moffat was cutting-edge in water treatment back in the 1930s, but it’s getting old,” said Andrea Song, Moffat Treatment Plant supervisor. “We’re building a new plant with modern water treatment and operational technology.”

Filters are a key component of the new plant. “Water filters are the heart of any treatment facility,” Song said. “The new plant will have deeper filter beds that are able to remove more particles, contaminants and impurities, which will give our customers a higher quality of water.”

Building for the future

The new Northwater Treatment Plant will be able to produce up to 150 million gallons of water per day and could be expanded to handle more capacity if needed in the future. The plant will incorporate sustainability practices throughout its operations, including alternative energy sources like hydropower and solar technology.

The Moffat site will continue to play a role in the delivery system by transitioning to a facility that stores water from the new treatment plant and distributes it to Denver Water customers.

New pipes, valves and a pipeline

The renewal also includes upgrades to the 80-year-old pipes and valves inside Ralston Dam that will feed water from Ralston Reservoir to the new treatment plant.

The new 8.5-mile water pipeline will replace two pipelines that were built in the 1930s and 1950s.

“We’re seeing leaks and cracks in the pipes, so we’re being proactive and replacing them before we have a serious problem,” Mahoney said.

Denver Water is preparing to build a state-of-the-art treatment plant next to Ralston Reservoir in Jefferson County.
Denver Water will build a state-of-the-art treatment plant next to Ralston Reservoir in Jefferson County.

The new pipeline will be 7 feet in diameter and able to carry up to 240 million gallons of water per day to Denver Water customers. It will follow the same corridor as the existing pipes, stretching from Ralston Reservoir, through parts of Jefferson County, Arvada, Wheat Ridge and Lakewood.

“The pioneers who built this system had vision and did their homework,” Song said. “We’re doing the same today to make sure what we build lasts another 80 to 100 years.”

Design of the new treatment plant is underway, and the first phase of construction for the new pipeline is scheduled to begin in fall of 2017. The entire project is scheduled to be completed in 2023.

4 thoughts on “$650 million makeover on tap”

    1. As one of Denver Water’s largest renovations ever, encompassing four separate and major projects, there will be many contractors working on this between now and 2023. Here is a fact sheet with additional information about the project, including a timeline. The first project out of the gate is the Northwater pipeline, which is starting this fall. You can also visit Denver Water’s North System Renewal webpage to stay updated on the project.

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