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
The City’s water supplies come from Clear Creek, South Boulder Creek, and the Fraser River. The City’s Clear Creek water rights are the source for about 25% of the needed water. In the 1900’s much of the land in Arvada was agricultural. Residential and commercial development started in the 1950s and as the agricultural lands were built upon, the City acquired the water rights that once irrigated these lands. The water is now diverted into and stored in the City’s Arvada/Blunn Reservoir. In the 1960s Arvada entered into a contract with Denver Water for supplies from the Denver Water Moffat Collection System. This raw water contract is the source for the remaining 75% of the city’s needs. The water is collected in the Williams Fork, Winter Park, and Fraser areas and transferred to the east slope through the Moffat Tunnel. Water is then transported down South Boulder Creek to Gross Reservoir in the Boulder Mountains. From Gross Reservoir the water flows down south Boulder Creek through El Dorado State Park where the South Boulder Diversion Canal takes the water to Ralston Reservoir. Water from Ralston Reservoir flows through two pipes directly to Arvada's Ralston Water Treatment Plant (RWTP) that treats raw water to produce drinking water. Download the diagram under "Resources."
Drinking Water Treatment
The City has two water treatment plants that process the water supplies to drinking water standards. In a normal 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 main water treatment plant. It operates all year long and receives its water from Denver Water Board's Moffat Tunnel System. The Arvada Water Treatment (AWTP) is only used for peak flows, normally April - October, and its source of supply is the Arvada/Blunn Reservoir. When the water enters the plant, a coagulant is added which allows impurities in the water to clump together forming a floc. The water then enters several large chambers where it slowly circulates, allowing the large floc to settle out and is 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 cleaning. The water is adjusted for proper pH, disinfected, has fluoride added, and is then sent into the distribution system for delivery to our customers. 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.