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Flushing our way to a sustainable future

Changes to Colorado’s regulations will expand opportunities to reuse water.

We get the question from our customers all the time: What are you doing to make sure we have enough water for future generations?

It’s not always a short answer, or an easy one. But it’s one Denver Water works every day to address. And it typically involves three areas of focus: water efficiency, new supply and water reuse.

This underground tank will be used to store wastewater on Denver Water's redeveloped Operational Complex. It will be part of a "One Water" strategy that was made possible by changes to Regulation 84.

Water reuse, and recycling in particular, is a key part of our current water supply strategy as well as our future planning. And recently, there were some important developments around how we can reuse water in Colorado. (This is sometimes referred to as using “reclaimed” water.)

Those developments center around Regulation 84, which governs reclaimed water use in Colorado. Regulation 84 was just expanded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to permit toilet/urinal flushing with reclaimed water, as well as the implementation of localized systems.

So what does this mean for the future of water reuse? Here are three facts about how Regulation 84 changes will impact reusing water in Colorado:

  • Denver Water was a driving force behind this expansion of Regulation 84, and we are investing in the new, expanded reuse options at our new Operations Complex. We plan to have a localized system treating our wastewater before it gets reused for toilet/urinal flushing and irrigation. It’s part of our One Water strategy for water management, putting the right water source to the right use.
  • What are localized systems? Think of them as miniature water recycling plants. These systems allow commercial or industrial campuses and even multi-family housing complexes around Colorado to capture and treat their own wastewater before reusing it for toilet/urinal flushing, cooling or irrigation within a given development or campus. The changes in Regulation 84 will help large sites reuse water rather than only being able to use it once.
  • Other large developments within our service area, including Panasonic, the National Western Center redevelopment, the Sun Valley Eco District and the River Mile development, are investigating One Water solutions that could potentially incorporate these regulatory changes.

“The changes to Regulation 84 give us additional flexibility and options,” said Abigail Antolovich, water efficiency and reuse manager at Denver Water. “We can now implement a One Water approach in our campus redevelopment and also help others figure out how to incorporate water reuse in their facilities. It’s an important step forward for water reuse in Colorado.”