Posts Tagged ‘Ashland Reservoir’

Hidden underground, and ready to go with the flow

Whatever the demand, 30 storage tanks ensure reliable water delivery. Here’s how we keep them ready.

By Kim Unger

How many times do you turn on the faucet or flush the toilet every day? Is it the same amount, at the same time, every time? Probably not. No matter when or how often you need safe, clean water from your tap, it’s right there waiting. But how?

Underground storage tanks.

Inside a water storage tank

A peek inside one of Ashland’s new storage tanks. Construction is expected to wrap up in June 2017.

You may not realize it, but Denver Water has 30 tanks across our service area. They provide a buffer to allow our treatment plants to operate at consistent flows, while the tanks handle the highs and lows of water demands. This reduces energy costs and strain at the treatment plants, and it means that you never have to wait for treated water.

Just like pipes, dams and treatment plant equipment within our water system, storage tanks need maintenance and repairs to ensure reliability. Over the past few years, Denver Water has been replacing and upgrading the tanks, making sure we can provide water well into the future.

Take a look at this animated video to see how storage tanks work — and preview an upcoming project in southeast Denver.

Keeping up with the Super Bowl flush

How we keep the water flowing when everyone is going.

Denver's water use, presumably in the bathroom, increased by 35 million gallons during halftime of the AFC Championship game between the Broncos and Patriots.

Denver’s water use, presumably in the bathroom, increased by about 26 million gallons during halftime of the AFC Championship game between the Broncos and Patriots on Jan. 24, 2016.

By Travis Thompson

It’s halftime of the AFC Championship game for my beloved Broncos, and oddly enough the score isn’t the only thing on my mind.

I’m also thinking about the toilet. Yep, that’s right. Not the one in my house, but every other bathroom in the Denver metro area.

Weird? Maybe a little. But as a Denver Water employee, I can’t help it after reading Orange flush: Life in Denver — from traffic to toilets — revolves around the Broncos, by Denver Post reporter Kevin Simpson.

The story featured Dario Diaz, one of Denver Water’s distribution system operators, whose job it is to maintain constant water flow to your home. From his unique vantage point running Denver Water’s system, Diaz described how system operators are able to keep a pulse on the game based on water use — like watching it spike at halftime when everyone runs to the restroom.

When you think about all those toilets flushing at once, it makes sense. But it also begs the question: How is Denver Water able to provide a constant flow and pressure to more than 1 million people when citywide water use increases by 35 million gallons in less than 30 minutes?

“Whether it’s a spike during a Broncos’ halftime or people shutting off their sprinklers when a sudden rainstorm hits on a hot summer day, we have to be prepared for major variations in water use every single day of the year,” said Joel Zdechlik, Denver Water’s system operations supervisor. “Our job is to look ahead through a series of calculated averages to determine how much water we expect customers to use.”

Based on information like historical water-use trends, weather patterns, and system maintenance and upgrade projects, Zdechlik and his team work with water treatment plant operators to produce the right amount of water Denver needs.

But what happens when a spike or dip in water use throws off that calculation? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as treating an extra 35 million gallons during halftime or cutting production by 150 million gallons during an unexpected rainstorm on a hot day.

Why? It’s not feasible to just turn off one of our three treatment plants when water use takes a quick plunge. Our treatment plant operators have to maintain a minimum flow at all times because of the energy and effort it takes to start up or shut down a treatment plant. And treating more water to flow through the pipes can require operational changes, like turning on additional sections of a plant.

Don’t worry; we have a plan. To help offset the fluctuations in water use, we send treated water to 30 underground tanks instead of sending it onto your homes. We keep those tanks between 65 percent and 85 percent full, so the extra water acts like a shock absorber, allowing us to withstand the “orange flush” during Broncos games and any other events that might affect water use, such as changes in the weather.

Denver Water is in the middle of a decade-long, $120-million upgrade to many underground treated water storage tanks, like Ashland Reservoir, where the two existing tanks have been demolished and are being replaced. In November 2015, crews placed roughly 1,250 cubic yards of concrete for a new floor slab on tank 1.

Denver Water is investing $120 million for upgrades to many underground treated water storage tanks, like Ashland Reservoir, where the two century-old tanks have been demolished and are being replaced. In November 2015, crews placed roughly 1,250 cubic yards of concrete for a new floor slab on tank 1.

The tanks are actually designed and positioned for the most important demand on our system: fire protection. They help provide firefighters with enough water and pressure to battle a blaze.

Back in system operations, the team also monitors 165 pressure regulating valves and 115 pumps, which react to changes in water use and minimize the fluctuation in flows and pressures through a 3,000-mile network of underground pipes. If a valve doesn’t respond, system operations employees go to that location to manually adjust the valve and maintain a consistent level of flow and pressure in the system.

As the Broncos move on from the AFC Championship game to the Super Bowl, the water used that day will also be moving onto the great #sewerbowl with our friends at the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District.

Now it’s time to send the Carolina Panthers down the drain at Super Bowl 50.

Go Broncos!

$40 million and counting: upgrading aging underground reservoirs

The concrete placement for the roof started at 5 a.m. in order to beat the heat of the day. Over an eight-hour span, roughly 25 concrete trucks per hour continuously delivered concrete to four concrete pumping trucks until the roof slab was complete.

The concrete placement for the roof started at 5 a.m. in order to beat the heat of the day. Over an eight-hour span, roughly 25 concrete trucks per hour continuously delivered concrete to four concrete pumping trucks until the roof slab was complete.

According to DenverUrbanism, there are about 5,900 single-family homes in Denver that were built in the 1890s still standing today. And now, there is only one underground water storage tank left in the Denver metro area built that same decade that continues to store treated water today — but not for long.

That’s because Denver Water is in the middle of a $40 million capital project to improve the safety and reliability of Ashland Reservoir. One of the two reservoirs at the Ashland site has already been demolished and the new tank is nearly complete. Once that tank is in service, the second reservoir will be demolished and another built in its place.

This project is a vital part of Denver Water’s work to upgrade its aging infrastructure. In fact, over a decade-long span, Denver Water — through customer water rates — plans to spend about $120 million on treated water storage tank projects.

There are 30 underground reservoirs, just like the two at Ashland, in various city locations that store treated water after it leaves one of Denver Water’s three treatment plants. These reservoirs ensure customers have a reliable water source, especially during times of the day when water use is at its highest, like mornings when people wake up and water use spikes as they all use the toilet, shower and sink at the same time. The tanks also provide a dependable source for the fire department so there never is a concern about having enough water to fight a fire in the community.

On Aug. 18, 2014, the Ashland project reached a significant milestone as the roof was placed on the new storage tank. This required hundreds of concrete truckloads and more than 60 laborers working continuously until the 1,500-cubic-yard roof slab was finished.

And, the local media was there to capture the massive undertaking.

Throughout its morning show, 9News highlighted the concrete placement and importance of the reservoir to the community. Here is one of the live shots:

 

 

7News used the helicopter to provide a visual of the work from the sky:

At the end of the day, CBS4 provided an update from overhead with another helicopter video showing the final product:

 

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