The construction of Denver Water’s North System Renewal Project, including a new, state-of-the-art drinking water treatment plant and an 8.5-mile water pipeline, is expected to generate $405 million in direct and indirect economic benefits across the metro area.
“The North System Renewal Project is an investment in the future of Denver Water, our customers and the community. It will upgrade components of our system that have served our customers since the 1930s. Water connects us all in many ways, and we’re proud that our work will benefit our customers and community in Jefferson County and the Denver metro area,” said Bob Mahoney, Denver Water’s chief engineering officer.
Denver Water provides a clean, reliable drinking water supply to 1.4 million people in Denver and surrounding suburbs.
The project is a major piece of Denver Water’s five-year, $1.3 billion capital plan to ensure the organization has the necessary flexibility to deliver a reliable water supply as weather patterns become more uncertain and the population grows.
The North System Renewal Project includes the construction of the Northwater Treatment Plant near Ralston Reservoir, located north of Golden along Highway 93, the installation of a 5.5-foot diameter pipeline between the new plant and the existing Moffat Treatment Plant in Lakewood and modifications to the Moffat plant, which opened in 1937.
Construction spending, in the form of materials purchased locally and wages for workers on the project, is expected to be about $207.6 million across Denver, of which $48.7 million is expected to be in Jefferson County, according to an economic impact study on the project conducted by Development Research Partners. The firm, founded in 1994 and led by President and Chief Economist Patricia Silverstein, specializes in economic research and analysis for local and state government and private sector businesses.
The study, titled “The Economic Benefits of Denver Water’s North System Renewal Project,” looked at the economic benefits of Denver Water’s investment in construction materials and jobs for the project as well as how that spending will ripple through the metro area’s economy.
As the initial spending for construction work moves through economy, the total economic benefit from the project’s construction — including direct, indirect and induced impact — is expected to rise to about $405 million across metro Denver, of which $66.9 million in economic impact will be felt in Jefferson County.
“The North System Renewal Project is an example of what can get accomplished when a water utility, regional municipalities and counties cooperate for the greater good. And it increases water security for Denver Water customers — many of whom live and work in metro Denver,” said Mahoney.
Construction on the project is expected to support a total of 1,376 workers across the Denver area, including 638 jobs directly tied to the project plus an additional 738 jobs supported indirectly.
Including construction, design and engineering costs, the project is a $600 million investment by Denver Water. Work on the two treatment plants is expected to cost about $520 million and the new pipeline is expected to cost about $80 million.
The economic impact study was sponsored by the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, the West Metro Chamber, the Metro North Chamber of Commerce, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Denver Water.
“This project creates substantial economic benefits to metro Denver and its northwest suburbs,” said Gregg Moss, president and CEO of the Metro North Chamber of Commerce. “Water infrastructure projects influence community development patterns and help communities support households and businesses.”
Kristi Pollard, the president and CEO of Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, hailed the project’s benefits.
“Water and the necessary infrastructure investment support business development and contribute to economic growth, providing benefits to Jefferson County and metro Denver,” Pollard said.
“The North System Renewal Project’s construction not only provides large, short-term benefits, but will positively impact communities by increased spending in construction, retail, dining services, lodging and real estate. Given that construction of the project will affect homes, streets and business in the north metro area, it’s good to see our communities will also derive benefit.”
Work on the project started in 2017 when workers began boring a tunnel for the pipeline under Interstate 70 in Wheat Ridge. Work at the site of the Northwater Treatment Plant began in September 2018. The plant is expected to be complete in 2024.
West Metro Chamber President and CEO Pam Bales added, “Constructing this project is already creating jobs. It’s estimated that nearly 1,400 workers and support staff will be supported by the project and worker spending will benefit businesses in Jefferson County and across Denver.”