The Northern Project is a multi-phase renewable water project that will reduce the District’s dependency on non-renewable groundwater and aquifer resources. The project started in 2003 with the launch of phase one called H2’06.
Phase one secured 6,000 acre-feet of water rights from the South Platte River and the construction of a 31-mile pipeline, storage tanks and two pump stations. This phase of the project now delivers renewable water from the Beebe Draw, where water is stored from the South Platte River, and then is sent down through the pipeline to District customers as it’s needed.
Phase two of the project is currently underway and includes additional water rights, as well as the construction of a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis (RO) treatment plant near the Beebe Draw. The RO treatment process will include natural filtration, RO filtration, ultraviolet and chlorine disinfection. The RO treatment plant will process an estimated 11 million gallons of water per day starting in 2012, and at full capacity will be capable of processing up to 33 million gallons of water per day.
Associated with the RO treatment plant is a deep injection well that has been drilled more than 10,000 feet deep to dispose of concentrate, or brine, which will be generated by the treatment plant, and will allow ECCV to recover more usable water in an environmentally acceptable manner.
ECCV’s Northern Project has been recognized as one of the leading renewable water solutions along the Front Range, and is also a leader in Colorado for developing acceptable disposal methods for RO brine.
The completion of the Northern Project is important for ECCV customers because it will provide the District with long-term renewable water solutions that are reliable. Renewable water replenishes year-to-year through snowmelt and rainfall. This water is capable of being collected, stored and used for future purposes.
Many south metro suburb water utilities rely solely on finite underground water supplies. These water utilities are pumping underground water as far as 2,200 feet. This water supply method is getting more difficult and expensive. By not fully relying on decreasing water resources, ECCV is able to diversify sources and reduce dependency on non-renewable groundwater.
The project has also allowed for the development of water utility partnerships through use of the 31-mile pipeline. In fact, a partnership with Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority has already flourished as a result of the construction of the pipeline. By allowing other water utilities to use the pipeline, it allows the District to share and decrease Northern Project costs to ECCV customers.
Developing partnerships for projects like the Northern Project is important as it helps provide regional water solutions.
When initial planning for the Northern Project’s 31 mile pipeline started, the District was thinking ahead and planning for regional solutions and partnership opportunities. As a result, the pipeline was constructed with additional capacity for other water utilities to be able to use the pipeline as well.
Today, the Arapahoe Water and Wastewater Authority (ACWWA) is a water utility that has benefited from the additional capacity in the pipeline. We anticipate more water utilities will also benefit from the pipeline to help provide future regional water solutions.