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Northwater Treatment Plant construction hits major milestone

Storage tanks at Denver Water’s new, state-of-the-art water treatment plant taking shape.

The work started in the dark, at 2:30 a.m., continued through the dawn and lasted until noon on Friday, May 14. 

Loaded concrete trucks trundled onto the site of the Northwater Treatment Plant, along Highway 93 north of Golden. A truck arrived every four minutes, delivering concrete that was pumped, then smoothed into place by an army of about 100 workers. 

They shaped the round, concrete floor of what will be the first of the new treatment plant’s two water storage tanks. The tanks will hold clean, treated water to be delivered into Denver Water’s distribution system that sends safe drinking water 1.5 million people every day.

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A work site lit by construction lights, with trucks and concrete pumps, and the dawn in the distance.
Placing the concrete floor for the first of two 10-million-gallon water storage tanks at the new Northwater Treatment Plant started at 2:30 a.m. on Friday, May 14, and continued through noon that day. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

“It’s a big milestone day. Each tank can hold 10 million gallons of water — and to put that in perspective, that’s 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools,” said Bob Mahoney, Denver Water’s chief engineering officer. 

“The project is going very well. It’s ahead of schedule and — in addition to pouring the floor of the new treated water reservoir — the overall project is about 38% complete.” 

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A view from a done flying over the round base of the storage tank, while concrete is poured on it.
More than 100 concrete trucks were needed to deliver 1,400 cubic yards of concrete for the base of the storage tank. Photo credit: Denver Water.

A look at the numbers behind the work: 

  • 23 feet, the height of the storage tank when finished, although most of it will be buried underground. 
  • 300-plus feet, the diameter of the tank, longer than a football field. 
  • 1,400 cubic yards of concrete were needed for the floor of the tank. 
  • 145 concrete trucks delivered the concrete. 
  • 100 workers were involved with the concrete placement.
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    A view of the round base of the storage tank with Highway 93 rising into the green hills at the top of the picture.
    The first of two 10-million-gallon water storage tanks begins to take shape. Photo credit: Denver Water.

The new, state-of-the-art water treatment plant, being built next to the utility’s Ralston Reservoir, is expected to be complete in 2024 and will be capable of cleaning up to 75 million gallons of water per day. Concrete for the floor of the second water storage tank is expected to be put in place July 2, weather permitting.

The Northwater Treatment Plant is part of Denver Water’s $600 million North System Renewal effort, which includes a new pipeline to carry water from the new plant and upgrades at the old Moffat Treatment Plant built in Lakewood in the 1930s.

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Blue pipes from concrete pumper trucks dwarf the workers smoothing the concrete in place.
About 100 workers were involved in the project, getting the concrete into the forms and smoothing it out to dry. Photo credit: Denver Water.

The concrete work in mid-May drew a steady stream of curious onlookers, including workers building the new plant — and those who will run it when it’s finished. 

“I had to come out. I really wanted to see how they do this,” said Nicole Babyak, a water treatment plant supervisor at Denver Water. 

“The team and I, we’ve been involved in this project for years. We’re going to be running the plant and have seen parts of the facility being built from the ground up, but I haven’t seen a large concrete pour like this yet. It’s so neat to be here while they’re pouring the first tank. 

“It’s just so cool.” 

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A bird-eye view of the site of the Northwater Treatment Plant, with workers in the foreground and Ralston Reservoir seen in the distance.
Denver Water’s new, state-of-the-art Northwater Treatment Plant is being built between Ralston Reservoir, seen in the distance on the left, and Highway 93, seen on the right. Photo credit: Denver Water.