Arvada's water system annual operation and maintenance budget is approximately $20 million. Sixty employees make sure that water is properly treated, adequately tested, and efficiently distributed to homes and businesses.
Drinking Water Sources
Arvada’s drinking water comes from two surface water sources:
1) Denver Water’s North Collection System is the City of Arvada’s year-round source, supplying approximately 75% of the drinking water supply. This water is fresh mountain snowmelt collected from the Fraser and Williams Fork River valleys then transported to South Boulder Creek through the Moffat Tunnel. Water is diverted downstream of Gross Reservoir through the South Boulder Diversion Canal to Ralston Reservoir, then either piped to the Ralston Water Treatment Plant or delivered to Arvada Reservoir via Ralston Creek.
2) Clear Creek provides the remainder of the City’s water supply which is diverted through one of three canals to the Arvada Reservoir in the spring/summer months when water demands peak. Water from the Arvada Reservoir can be treated at either Ralston Water Treatment Plant or the Arvada Water Treatment Plant.
Drinking Water Treatment
The City has two water treatment plants that treat the water supplies to Federal and State drinking water standards. In a typical year, the City treats and delivers over six billion gallons of water using the Arvada and Ralston Water Treatment Plants. The Ralston Water Treatment Plant (RWTP) is the primary water treatment plant. It operates year-round and is a conventional filtration plant, first utilizing a coagulant which allows particles in the water to clump together forming a floc. The water then enters several large basins where it slowly circulates, allowing the large floc to settle out to then be removed from the water. The water is then sent through mixed media filter beds consisting of layers of gravel, sand, and anthracite for the final polishing. The water is adjusted for proper pH, disinfected, has fluoride added, and is then sent into the distribution system for delivery to our customers. The Arvada Water Treatment Plant (AWTP) is used during our higher demand season, usually from May-October. It has a similar treatment process as RWTP with the addition of GAC (Granular Activated Carbon) filters for an added level of treatment. Download the diagram under "Resources."
From the water treatment facilities the water flows through pressurized pipes throughout the city to the residential and commercial buildings. The delivery system is highly interconnected to minimize outages in the event of a water pipe break. 10 million gallon water tanks have been constructed at critical locations to help with peak flow demands and to supply water for fire suppression needs. Every building connection is metered and bills are based on the amount of water used by each account. Thirty people are involved in the maintenance of this system, ranging from making sure the fire hydrants operate every time, pressures in the system are consistent, and the many isolation valves work.