Denver — The Metro Wastewater Reclamation District celebrated the grand opening of its Northern Treatment Plant. Planned since 1982, the new $417 million facility is one of the most advanced in the western United States.
Designed to protect the South Platte River and support rapid community growth, the facility is capable of cleaning 24 million gallons per day and will eventually serve up to 750,000 customers across Aurora, Brighton, Commerce City, Thornton, unincorporated Adams County and Denver.
“By investing in critical infrastructure, we are investing in the future of the communities where we live and work,” said Catherine Gerali, District Manager of the Metro District. “Completion of the Northern Treatment Plant ensures safe, reliable and cost-effective water reclamation for the 1.8 million Coloradans who rely on the essential public service we provide.”
Under budget and on schedule
Construction of the Northern Treatment Plant was completed on schedule and the $417 million total program cost was nearly $60 million less than original budget estimates. This includes design and construction of the treatment facilities and a nearly seven-mile pipeline that uses gravity – not pump stations – to transport flow to the plant.
“This is one of the largest progressive design-build municipal water projects ever delivered in the U.S.,” says CH2M Chairman and CEO Jacqueline Hinman. “The innovative delivery process allowed for the greatest level of collaboration with all project stakeholders, while maintaining a keen focus on safety. We applaud the Metro District’s foresight in delivering a technologically advanced treatment facility that will make a great difference in our community, protect our environment and preserve critical water supplies for our growing region.”
The Northern Treatment Plant strengthens the Metro District’s more than 50-year track record of environmental stewardship. The new facility features the latest proven water reclamation technologies to protect the South Platte River, alongside onsite resource recovery for energy generation and agricultural applications.
“Protecting the environment is the very reason for the Metro District’s existence,” Gerali added. “We were formed in 1961 to clean up the South Platte River and the Northern Treatment Plant strengthens our more than 50-year legacy of environmental stewardship.”
The Northern Treatment Plant provides community amenities with opportunities for public recreation and education. The facility includes more than a mile of riverside trails and seating around a wetland area. Ultimately, these trails are designed to serve as a connection with a regional trail system that is envisioned to extend from Wyoming to New Mexico. The new facility’s Administration Building includes educational exhibits to inform visitors about how water reclamation protects the South Platte River and benefits the environment.
Facts & figures
- The Metro District is the largest water reclamation provider in the Rocky Mountain West, serving about 1.8 million people in a 715 square-mile area.
- The Northern Treatment Plant is one of the most advanced facilities in the western United States and will eventually serve up to 750,000 customers
- Every day the District collects and reclaims about 130 million gallons of wastewater – enough to fill nearly 200 Olympic-size swimming pools.
- For nine months out of the year, roughly 90 percent of the water in the South Platte River comes from the outfalls of the District’s Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility.
- The District makes enough energy onsite to power approximately 40 percent of its Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility using gas produced during the treatment process – that is enough energy to power roughly 5,000 homes.
- The District owns and operates a 52,000 acre farm in northeast Colorado. It pioneered wastewater resource recovery for agriculture and have grown crops at the MetroGro farm for 30 years.
For more information, visit the Metro District’s website at www.MetroWastewater.com.