Expanding & Educating
This year’s American Water Works Assn. Annual Conference and Exposition (AWWA ACE) will include tours of a number of Denver Water’s facilities. WWD Assistant Editor Amy McIntosh spoke with Pete Muncaster, supervisor of the Marston Water Treatment Plant, about Denver Water’s latest projects.
Amy McIntosh: What are some of Denver Water’s treatment initiatives?
Pete Muncaster: Right now we are in the conceptual design phase to replace the 1930s-era Moffat Water Treatment Plant. The construction is expected to be completed in the 2020s. This project is just one way that Denver Water is ramping up efforts to make needed improvements associated with an aging infrastructure. Denver Water owns and maintains more than 3,000 miles of pipe—enough to stretch from Los Angeles to New York—as well as 19 raw water reservoirs, 22 pump stations and four treatment plants.
Denver Water’s 10-year, $1.3 billion capital plan details more than 300 projects, including the Moffat Water Treatment Plant project, which will help ensure Denver Water continues serving high-quality water well into the future.
McIntosh: How does Denver Water integrate public education and outreach into its operations?
Muncaster: Denver Water offers a variety of informational services for customers wanting to know more about the system that stores, monitors, treats and delivers their water, and the unique water issues affecting Colorado. We offer educational resources for topics like smart water use, future supply sources and history of some of our facilities, as well as treatment plant tours and expert speakers. We have an extremely proactive Youth Education program, providing teachers in the Denver area with resource packets containing information and activities related specifically to water use and supply in the Denver area. The goal is to enhance teaching and learning about water by providing factual, locally relevant resources.
McIntosh: What new projects are in store for the future at Denver Water?
Muncaster: Denver Water is installing the infrastructure for recycled water delivery on the northeast side of its service area. Recycled water is wastewater treated to a standard that is suitable for irrigation and some commercial and industrial uses. We own and operate the largest recycled water system in Colorado.
Denver Water started a recycled water program in 2004 and adds customers each year as crews install the infrastructure needed to expand the system. Just this year, two popular Denver parks will be watered with recycled water, saving roughly 32 million gal of drinking water annually—enough to supply more than 260 homes. Once build-out of the recycled water system is complete, it will supply more than 5 billion gal of recycled water every year—water for irrigation, various industrial and commercial uses, lakes in our parks and golf courses.
McIntosh: What can visitors expect when touring the Marston Water Treatment Plant during ACE13?
Muncaster: Located in southwest Denver, the Marston Water Treatment Plant sits nestled between an upscale residential neighborhood and a private golf course. The surrounding foothills and the majestic snowcapped peak of Mt. Evans serve as a backdrop to the plant and its 800-acre forebay.
Marston is the oldest water treatment plant operated by Denver Water; however, due to extensive renovations in recent years, it can also be considered the newest plant. The old north intake valve tower, the original 1924 head house and the screen house built in 1915 are icons of Marston, and can be instantly recognized by their red-tiled roofs.