All in a day’s — or night’s — work

On the shortest day of the year, the sun sets early, but you still need water. We’ll be there.

December 20, 2017 | By: Kristi Delynko

Dec. 21 is the winter solstice, the shortest day — and longest night — of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. And while many of us use an early sunset as an excuse to curl up on the couch with a good book or movie, some Denver Water employees will be hard at work — no matter how short the daylight hours.

Ensuring 1.4 million people receive high-quality drinking water is a 24/7 operation. Here’s a glimpse at what some of our employees will be doing long after the sun sets:

Emergency Service team working at night
Even in the dark, members of the Emergency Services team are Denver Water’s first responders. They handle anything from shutting off water so crews can repair pipe breaks, to supporting Denver firefighters during multi-alarm blazes, to assisting customers with water quality complaints. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Water Distribution crew member fixing a problem.
Water mains burst when they want to, and usually at inopportune times, like when it’s dark and chilly. After Emergency Services responds to a call, a Water Distribution crew fix the problem so customers can have water service restored as soon as possible. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Dispatch, Pete Garduno
Pete Garduno answers a call to Denver Water’s central dispatch. A customer reports water bubbling up in the middle of a busy intersection. Pipes can break at all hours of the day, and we have to be ready to respond. The central dispatch team works like a police or fire department dispatch center to coordinate response so we can minimize the impact on our customers. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Denver Water treatment plant workers walking through tunnels.
Long after many of us have gone to bed, staff at our three drinking water treatment plants are hard at work. They gear up overnight when water use is low, to ensure the plants can meet customers’ needs during the day, when demand is higher. Our drinking water plants are staffed around-the-clock by operators and maintenance personnel who monitor the treatment processes and run lab tests to ensure the water we deliver (sometimes at the rate of 350,000 gallons a minute) meets all the federal and state regulations, and even tighter Denver Water standards. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Load Control, Phil Malone
Coffee percolates and the dark room glows from monitors that cover entire walls in Systems Operations (also known as Load Control). Distribution operators like Phil Malone work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, scanning various computer screens to make sure our 30 treated water reservoirs, more than 3,000 miles of pipe, 140 pressure zones and 23 pump stations are ready for the morning load as our customers wake and prepare for their day. Photo credit: Denver Water.

With a water system as large and complex as ours, pumps, facilities, even entire pipelines occasionally go down for service, maintenance or repair. Operators must constantly respond to alarms that signal potential real-time problems with everything from equipment and instrumentation to water quality and pressure.

We provide customers an average of 64 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water and 2 billion gallons of treated recycled water every year. No small task, but it’s all in a day’s — or night’s — work at Denver Water.

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