What is Reclaimed Water?
Reclaimed water is wastewater that has been further treated and disinfected to provide a non-potable supply that is safe and suitable for uses such as landscape irrigation and some industrial processes. It is widely used and accepted throughout the arid and semi-arid portions of the United States as an environmentally responsible way to conserve scarce and expensive water supplies. It is successfully used in other Colorado communities including Arapahoe County, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Denver, and Inverness Business Park. It is also used in other parts of the country including Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, and California.
What is the level of treatment and is it safe?
Reclaimed water contains nitrogen, phosphorous, and other nutrients, which promote good plant growth. At the same time, reclaimed water meets stringent disinfection standards and contact with it does not promote waterborne disease transmission. In fact, reclaimed water quality standards are more rigorous than those for surface streams, rivers, and irrigation channels. To market reclaimed water for public use, the City built a plant that provides a high-level of treatment and disinfection. Finished water must meet strict requirements set by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Reclaimed water is delivered through pipelines that are completely separate from the City's potable (drinking) water system.
What are the main benefits for the City to use reclaimed water?
Use of reclaimed water will benefit everyone in Westminster. It will maintain a constant water supply for City parks and golf courses. Some additional advantages of this system include:
Reduced demand on drinking water and scarce raw water supplies.
Efficient use of existing facilities and City employees.
City growth can be maintained in a responsible manner.
Reclaimed Water Sites
Westminster currently has 92 reclaimed water sites, which make up about 900 irrigated acres. These sites can be found throughout the City in parks, golf courses, schools, sports fields, commercial properties and HOA common areas.
Wastewater is treated at the Big Dry Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility (BDCWWTF) where over 90% of the organic matter and other pollutants are removed. Ultraviolet disinfection is used to disinfect the water prior to discharge to Big Dry Creek. There are no residual disinfection materials or byproducts that have to be removed from the water prior to discharge. Plant performance and compliance with discharge quality are closely monitored by City personnel and regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Final effluent released into Big Dry Creek meets all standards and is typically as clean as or cleaner than water already in the creek.
The Reclaimed Water Treatment Facility (RWTF) receives and additionally treats water that would otherwise be released into Big Dry Creek. Chemicals (coagulants) are added to remove solids suspended (dissolved) in the water. A self-cleaning sand filter is then used to filter the water and remove these solids. Virtually all of the remaining solids, phosphorus, and pathogenic organisms are removed at the RWTF. Once the water is filtered, it is disinfected and then powerful distribution pumps deliver the water through separate pipelines to golf courses, parks, and other large greenbelt sites for landscape irrigation.
Westminster's water reclamation program has been acclaimed by the EPA and the State of Colorado for environmental stewardship. The City is able to complement its raw-water supply by reclaiming wastewater for use as an irrigation source to irrigate golf courses and parks, and business and school grounds, while preserving drinking water for human consumption.
The Reclaimed Water Treatment Facility is in full operation each year from March 15th-November 15. Off season water is available and must be scheduled with Bret Eastberg at 303-658-2186 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on reclaimed water, click the links below: