The search for a site for Westminster’s new water treatment plant started out considering 54 different parcels, City Councilors were told June 17. “Our process was a data driven and had integral …
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The search for a site for Westminster’s new water treatment plant started out considering 54 different parcels, City Councilors were told June 17.
“Our process was a data driven and had integral community engagement from the very beginning,” Senior Engineer Mary Stahl told City Councilors at their June 17 workshop meeting. “We went from a very large list of possible sites down to an optimum recommendation.”
A staff committee recommended the city build the facility east of Westminster Boulevard at about 98th. The parcel is privately owned but zoned for open space.
Councilors are schedule to vote on the location at their July 8 meeting. If councilors approve the site, staff would begin designing the facility in 2021 with a plan of opening it in 2025.
Westminster is served by two drinking water 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. The Semper facility treats about 44 million gallons daily.
Both facilities are surrounded by private development or flood plains and can’t be expanded.
The Northwest facility came online in about 2001, but the Semper facility began it’s life in 1969.
A new facility is meant to replace the city’s aging Semper Water Treatment Facility.
The city started out looking at 54 sites around the city that met two criteria — they were not located in a 100-year flood zone and were at least 24 acres in size.
“All land uses were considered,” Stahl said. “Everything within the city boundaries and even properties adjacent to the city were all considered.”
Next, they narrowed the list down to nine, eliminating sites that are a critical community asset — such as a park, school or historic or agricultural open space. They also considered sites that would cost the same to operate as the Semper facility and were located on a major arterial road.
The committee selected the two sites that could handle a drinking water facility while fitting in with surrounding properties, wouldn’t require extra work to avoid a potential hazard and could realistically be finished by 2025. The group narrowed the list to two locations — southeast of 108th Avenue and Dover Street or in the open space east of U.S. 36 or Westminster Boulevard, south of 104th.
“The two sites were fairly equal on a technical and cost basis,” Stahl told councilors. “Where they differentiated is the current land use. One is private property and one is open space. Both are plenty large enough but they differ on what amenities we could offer on the site.”
The city hosted two public meetings and created an online community survey to gauge residents opinions, and the Westminster Boulevard option was the favorite. It’s currently open space, and that did factor into the steering committee’s recommendation.
“The site is larger, which gives us greater flexibility on choosing our treatment process and site layout,” Stahl said. “We also feel there are better educational opportunities on this site because of the open space trails around the site.”
If councilors approve the site in July, the city will be begin testing different methods for treating the water, selecting the best and most cost effective method for Westminster and would move to purchase the parcel by July 22.
Councilor Anita Seitz noted that the city would have to change the city’s Comprehensive Plan to allow the plant as use, and she’d like to do that soon.
“What really gives me heartburn would be to approve the purchase the site prior to amending the land use,” Seitz said.
Staff could begin designing the facility when those studies are done in 2020 and plan to have the new plant ready to go in 2025.
Stahl said the Semper plant would likely stay in use for another 10 years as the new plant ramps up.
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