Like a good neighbor, Denver Water is there

Water system construction projects are inevitable, but employees are committed to working in the least disruptive way.

February 12, 2018 | By: Jason Finehout


If you’ve spent any time in Denver, chances are you have experienced the impacts of a water system upgrade or maintenance project at some point along the way.

Nick Downs, water utility tech, at a proactive pipe replacement project. Denver Water replaces water mains for various reasons, including repairing or avoiding main breaks, replacing corroded pipe, alleviating water quality problems, increasing available hydrant flow and improving area delivery.
Nick Downs, water utility tech, is part of a Denver Water crew that repairs and replaces water pipes. The work includes fixing main breaks, replacing corroded pipe, alleviating water quality problems, increasing available hydrant flow and improving area delivery.

From installing new water pipes, checking valves in the water system or operating our pump stations, we have employees working 24/7 year-round, throughout Denver’s 78 neighborhoods.

And we don’t stop at the city border, as we serve dozens of metro-area suburbs as well.

But often the work to provide clean, safe drinking water to 1.4 million people takes place just feet from bedrooms, offices, major roadways and even Fido’s favorite sleeping spot.

“We know that construction work can cause consternation, frustration and stress for those who live in the communities we serve,” said Mike Aragon, Denver Water’s director of customer relations. “That is why we created our Good Neighbor Commitment, to ensure we are doing our work in the least disruptive way.”

The commitment was formally adopted by Denver Water in 2017.

“After hearing complaints from customers about the cleanliness of streets during and after construction projects and analyzing a customer survey that confirmed the concerns, we used a continuous improvement process to evaluate the issues and develop a way to enhance the customer experience,” said Mike Mercier, water distribution manager for Denver Water. “With the community commitment, our crews have the resources to clean the streets in an ongoing and timely manner, and much more.”

The goal of the Denver Water Good Neighbor Commitment is to bring as much consistency as possible to every planned project throughout our service area in the following areas: safety, construction hours, equipment placement, water interruption, restoration and communication.

A Denver Water crew member installing a new water pipe.
Denver Water crews proactively install or replace about 60,000 feet of pipe throughout our service area per year.

According to Mercier, there are still many outside factors, like permit requirements, weather, emergencies and even community requests that may alter a job.

“At the end of the day, these commitments help ensure we’re being a good neighbor during construction by completing projects as quickly and efficiently as possible while working with the surrounding community,” he said.

The same standards apply for emergency work, like main breaks, within the factors we can control, Mercier said. When a main break occurs, Denver Water tries to minimize the number of customers out of water and make repairs immediately — including times outside of the construction hours to ensure water outages and traffic impacts are as short as possible.

“By following consistent guidelines in every neighborhood, we can bring our quality of work and pride to each project to ensure the neighbors know what to expect,” said Mercier. “After all, we are not just working in your neighborhood, our 1,100 employees also live here. Looking out for our neighbors is a great way to build a strong community.”