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Water Well Reconstruction


Highlands Ranch Water Well Reconstruction

Fact Sheet

Project Background

In the 1970’s the Willows Water District purchased certain deep aquifer water rights from the Phipps Family.  To access the water it purchased, Willows developed a well field consisting of eight wells on the Phipps Ranch property. In the following decades, Phipps Ranch was developed into present-day Highlands Ranch.


In 2001, the Willows Water District sold its well field and the deep aquifer water rights to the East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District (ECCV).  ECCV then resold two of the wells to Centennial Water and Sanitation District the same year, leaving ECCV with six wells. Water from the wells is pumped to ECCV through a waterline that follows E-470. These six wells continue to be an important part of the ECCV water supply to provide peak capacity during high demand seasons.


Three of these wells have now reached the end of their usable lives, and must be retired and replaced. ECCV’s water rights allow for replacement of these wells in order for the District to continue to access this important part of its water supply. 

New Well Construction

Water wells typically last 30-40 years, as is the case with these three wells.  Constructing new wells requires new deep bores to be drilled and underground piping to be installed within the bores. Please review the below FAQ for additional information on the construction process.


Why are the wells located so close to homes? Can they be moved?


The placement of well sites in close proximity to homes is fairly common in Front Range communities. This is because sites for water wells are often established before residential development, as is the case in Highlands Ranch. When these wells were first constructed, the area was open ranch land.


As this water source continues to be an important part of ECCV’s water supply, it is crucial that the new wells are capable of producing the same amount of water as the current wells.  Moving well sites to different areas of the aquifer formation could decrease well production.   It is also important for ECCV to only use water for which it has rights.  Moving a well site too far from its current position could infringe on the rights of another water provider.


Does the drilling process involve fracking?


No. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is NOT used when drilling water wells.  A standard drilling rig, often about 60 feet tall, is used to create the well bore.  The sand and gravel comprising these aquifers are not cemented, and do not respond to fracking techniques. Fracking is only applicable in tightly cemented sedimentary rock.

How long will it take to complete construction at each well site?


Reconstruction will be done one site at a time.  ECCV and its contractor hope to have all major work completed at each site within the next nine months. The District will be communicating with residents near each site as the projects progress.  The initial well construction process of preparing the site and setting the drill into the earth typically takes a month, and requires the most activity on the site.   However, additional work will be required at each site after the drilling process is complete, including filling and capping the old well.


While periodic maintanance, including the installation of a new pump and motor, will be required after well construction is completed, this level of construction work will not need to be repeated at the site for another 30 to 40 years.   


Will this work be limited to daylight hours?


Currently, drilling operations are scheduled to run 24 hours a day.  Continuous operation greatly reduces the amount of time needed to complete the project and is critical to ensure the well bore remains open while it is being drilled.


What can I expect if I live near a well construction site?


ECCV and its contractor are committed to reducing the impacts of noise and light on nearby homes.  However, these will be active construction sites and disturbances should be expected. Sites must be adequately lit during night work for safety reasons, and the drill rig is powered by a diesel engine which will produce a droning sound.  Each site will be surrounded by a sound barrier to help meet noise ordinance requirements.  These barriers will extend up to 32 feet high and surround the construction site.  Crews will also make every effort to direct safety lighting toward the drilling platform.

What can I do to minimize the impact of light and noise in my home?


With both light and noise, the best solutions are to create as much of a barrier as possible. Insulation in your home’s exterior walls will reduce the amount of noise you hear.  Keeping windows shut, and closing drapes will also help limit light and noise from entering your home. As some sites are located in close proximity to homes, residents may contact ECCV at 303-693-3800 if additional assistance is needed.


Will this work affect my water service?


If you live near the well site, work should not impact your water service, which is a separate system operated and mantained by Centennial Water and Sanitation District.


Please note that once the well bore is completed, you may notice water coming from the site as the new well is tested and prepared for operation.  Hoses will be attached at the well to direct water into curbside gutters and proper drainage locations, however a steady flow of water may stream across roadways in some locations as it moves towards storm sewer intakes.


How can I learn more information about when work will start or progress at the site near me?


ECCV will be providing information in a variety of ways.  Residents in neighborhoods near well sites have received letters with information on how to join email lists. Updates on project progress will also be provided via Facebook and Twitter.  You can “Like” the Facebook page, or “Follow” the Twitter account, or search for information using the following hashtags:





Can I take a tour of the drilling site to have my questions answered?


Safety considerations (and the need for extensive safety training and certifications) prohibit us from offering public tours of the site.  However, ECCV representatives are present at the site every day and are actively documenting the process, and are willing to show their videos and photos at neighborhood meetings.


If I have a question or concern, to whom do I speak?


You may contact Michelle Probasco, ECCV Project Engineer at 303-693-3800.