Renewing the Water Supply
Renewing the Water Supply
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Renewing the Water Supply
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New water treatment facility prepares Castle Rock, Colo., to meet demand sustainably.

Douglas County is the fastest-growing county in Colorado. As the region's population grows, so do concerns about the area's water supply, historically drawn from the Denver Basin Aquifer system.

Since the late 1800s, cities and towns along Colorado's Front Range have extracted groundwater from the basin, eventually beginning to deplete the water supply. Finding renewable resources for reliable drinking water has been a top issue for water utilities in and around the area for decades.

The Town of Castle Rock, Colo., just south of Denver in Douglas County, has a population of approximately 54,000 and is expected to double in size by 2050. The town aims to provide 75 percent of its drinking water through renewable sources.

"Providing renewable resources to meet water demand is probably the single largest problem our community faces," says Tim Friday, assistant utilities director for Castle Rock.

First Steps

One of the first steps toward meeting the town's goal was construction of the Plum Creek Water Purification Facility (PCWPF), which began operating in April 2013. The facility is the first in Castle Rock designed to meet surface water treatment regulations for drinking water.

Castle Rock relied on the Burns & McDonnell Water Group in Denver for engineering services. The facility is built to treat surface water at a rate of 4 million gallons per day (MGD), expandable to 12 MGD.

Darin Brickman, who leads the treatment practice in Denver, says the facility is just one component of the town's overall water production profile. "In addition to the water purification facility, the town continues to be served by the Denver Basin Aquifer, as well as numerous groundwater wells and three other plants that treat groundwater."

The Demand Equation

Castle Rock's water demand is expected to increase by 137 percent within the next 50 years. The PCWPF will provide nearly 25 percent of the town's water supply annually.

"This facility advances Castle Rock toward the goal of providing safe, reliable drinking water from a sustainable source," says Anthony Beeson, Burns & McDonnell project manager.

To have the facility completed before peak demand in summer 2013, Burns & McDonnell worked closely with the owner's representative and the contractor on an accelerated schedule. To meet the tight timeline, design was broken into several packages, allowing construction to begin while design continued. The contractor was selected when design was 30 percent complete.

"We completed the foundation work separately," Beeson says. "It provided a bit of a challenge to approve half a design plan, but that was necessary to satisfy the schedule."

In addition to project design, Burns & McDonnell was the construction phase engineer.

Friday says having Burns & McDonnell involved throughout design and construction helped lessen the challenges of the aggressive schedule. "The project delivery method was different than what we've done in the past," he says. "We knew Burns & McDonnell had the experience needed to collaborate and complete a successful project."

Handing Off Operations

Burns & McDonnell provided training for the operations staff before the project was handed over, expanding skill sets to include treating surface water. "There was a concerted effort to train the existing staff on the water chemistry," Beeson says. "The operators got involved early on and were very receptive to including the new methods in their process."

Providing training during construction allowed facility operators to learn firsthand how the plant was designed to operate. "Our operators assisted in the assembly and installation of the membrane filtration system," Friday says. "That hands-on training made the transition smooth and seamless."

As a resident of Castle Rock, Brickman fully supports the project and takes pride in the involvement of Burns & McDonnell in getting it built: "It's a beautiful facility that fits well within the town's long-term plan."

For more information, contact Darin Brickman at 303-474-2244.

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