Wheels rollin’ keeps the water flowin’

Check out Denver Water’s new maintenance shop and meet the mechanics who maintain a $42 million fleet.

August 28, 2019 | By: Bailee Campbell

Big rigs, dump trucks, pickups and electric generators. Fleet mechanics at Denver Water work on a wide range of vehicles and equipment, all to provide water to 1.4 million people across the metro area.

Denver Water has its own specialty team of mechanics and administrative staff who focus on managing, repairing, and maintaining more than 700 vehicles and backup power generators.

Denver Water has a significant investment in its fleet — around $42 million — so it’s important to have mechanics who are always ready to go to work and have quick access to the right equipment and tools.

That’s why Denver Water invested in a new Fleet Services building in 2017. The new facility is part of the organization’s redevelopment of its 35-acre complex near downtown aimed at modernizing operations.

“Before the redevelopment, our fleet team was spread across four separate buildings, which was very inefficient,” said Mark Cripps, Denver Water’s Fleet Services supervisor. “The new shop was built for efficiency and the mechanics played a key role in requesting the tools they need as well as in how we set up the shop.”

The new building allowed all the mechanics, administrators, management and equipment to be centralized in one location. This created clear communication and faster repair times while adding a strong sense of teamwork and eliminating the duplication of tools.

“Before our reorganization and the new building, we had about a five-day turnaround time for vehicle work. Now we can get a vehicle in and out in about a day,” said Jack Tolmich, the Fleet Services manager at Denver Water.

This photo shows a man working on the engine of a pickup truck.
Mechanic Ken Randon, works on a pickup truck in the Fleet Services building. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Focus on preventative maintenance

Vehicles are critical to Denver Water. They’re used by its field crews to access mountain reservoirs, treatment plants and make repairs on 3,000 miles of water pipe spread across the metro area.

“Our philosophy is preventative maintenance,” said Cripps. “We try to schedule services and repairs before things break down.”

As part of routine maintenance of vehicles and equipment, the maintenance crew performs mandatory inspections and tuneups on all vehicles every six months.

In 2018, Denver Water mechanics performed more than 2,600 repairs and maintenance services such as oil and fluid changes, brake checks and safety system inspections and repairs.

Streamlining the operation also helps Denver Water meet Colorado Department of Transportation safety requirements for the organization’s semitrailers and large dump trucks.

This photo shows a dump truck up on a lift.
A Denver Water dump truck sits on a lift in the new Fleet Services building. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Wide variety of vehicles

Denver Water has a wide variety of vehicles, including excavators, road graders, utility trucks and even street sweepers, lawnmowers and trailers.

“It’s definitely a challenge working on so many different types of vehicles, but that’s the fun part too,” said Jay Dankowski, senior mechanic at Denver Water.

The fleet mechanics take pride in what they do and work hard to maintain and repair the equipment it takes to provide safe water to customers.

“At Denver Water, we treat these vehicles as if we were going to put our own families in them,” Dankowski said. “The safety and reliability of our fleet is of the utmost importance, for our crews and to keep water flowing to our customers.”

This photo shows a group of people in front of a truck.
Denver Water’s Fleet Services team in the new building. Photo credit: Denver Water.

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