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City begins looking at water treatment options

Westminster looking for spot for Semper successor


City officials will begin looking around Westminster for a good place to put a new water treatment plant with the aim of having it ready for service by 2025.

“This is the first phase of longer program and we’re calling this first phase Water 2025,”said Stephen Grooters said. “That’s designed to give us the quantity, quality and reliability goals we need to meet today’s population.

“And as the city grows and as our other treatment facilities age, the city can gauge the cost and efficacy of adding a second phase plant — when to add it and how big to make it.”

The new plant would provide backup service to the city’s two existing treatment plants, the Northwest plant and the Semper, and give the city time to consider options for replacing Semper some time in 2040.

City Councilors voted Jan. 8 to set aside $609,749 to begin the multi-year Water 2025 process. That would pay for engineering and a city-wide site selection process. The potential sites should be at a lower elevation from Standley Lake but higher than most city storage tanks.

Grooters said he hopes the city can find as many as 12 potential sites for a water treatment facility.

“There is a wide range of geographic possibilities for this plant,” Grooters said.

“If you want to visualize downstream from Standley Lake, look at the Big Dry Creek to see where water flows down hill. So really anything that’s in that basin is downhill from the lake.

The budget includes $150,000 for a public engagement process to get public opinion about the facility.

Westminster is served by two treatment facilities, the smaller Northwest Water Treatment Facility on 104th and Wadsworth Boulevard that treats about 15 million gallons of water daily and the Semper Facility on 88th Avenue at Lamar, that treats about 44 million gallons daily.

Both facilities are surrounded by private development or flood plains and can’t be expanded any more, Grooters said.

“We are land-locked,” he said. “Our existing campus does not give us any space for a third unit. And even places around Semper that looks like there would be room has large underground pipes, so we can’t build there.”

The Northwest facility came online in about 2001, but the Semper facility began it’s life in 1969. Grooters said water treatement facilities have 70 to 75 year useful life, which means the Semper facility should remain in operation until 2040.

However, both plants currently meet the city’s needs but there is no back-up in case one of the facilities shuts down.

“If it does good and lasts longer, we’d like to use Semper beyond its useful life,” Grooters said. “It’s in decent condition and it’s a very trusty plant that’s served Westminster well for many years. But we know that eventually this equipment will reach its end of life and we need to proactively go after that.”


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