Wastewater 6-Year Water Plan (2022-2027)

Capital projects are necessary to keep up with population growth and aging infrastructure.  The Wastewater 6-Year Water Plan (2022-2027) is a comprehensive program to guide capital budgeting within the Wastewater Enterprise Fund that outlines the framework of programs necessary to improve the infrastructure in the areas of greatest need.  The 6-Year Water Plan is a $358M overall plan, which averages approximately $59M annually.

The 2022-2027 plan will continue to build upon the successes from the previous CIP including the use of data-driven metrics and equity in prioritization of projects citywide.

The program includes seven sub-programs:

  • Capital Maintenance
  • Neighborhood Needs – Storm
  • Focus Basins
  • Focus Waterways
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Sanitary
  • Large-Scale Initiatives

This plan is subject to change.  It is constantly reviewed on an annual basis as conditions and needs change to ensure it aligns with annual revenue and appropriations and to ensure that the Wastewater Enterprise Fund is financially sustainable.


Sub-Programs

Capital Maintenance

Capital Maintenance consists of preventative and emergency repair work above and beyond normal routine maintenance that extends the service life of existing infrastructure and maintains a standard level of service for assets owned and operated by Wastewater.

Examples of work include pipe lining, manhole rehabilitation, lift station maintenance, storm inlet repairs.  Per city code, a portion of capital maintenance is shared with Street Maintenance to repair curb & gutters.

Capital Maintenance is a sub-program of The Wastewater 6-Year Water Plan, a comprehensive program to guide capital budgeting within the Wastewater Enterprise Fund.

Neighborhood Needs - Storm

Storm Neighborhood Needs projects are generally small localized improvements to the existing drainage systems that increase system capacity, increase operating efficiencies, and address nuisance problems reported by Denver residents citywide.  Storm Neighborhood Needs also includes master planning and project development efforts which help city staff track problem areas, develop engineering solutions, and prioritize efforts to maximum value, efficiency, and equity through project delivery.

Over the last five years, roughly 25 individual locations have been addressed by Neighborhood Need led projects with 9 more scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Neighborhood Needs - Storm is a sub-program of The Wastewater 6-Year Water Plan, a comprehensive program to guide capital budgeting within the Wastewater Enterprise Fund.

Focus Basins

Focus Basin projects are major stormwater capital improvements involving planning, design, and construction of large diameter ‘backbone’ drainage systems to reduce depth of flow in city streets and reduce flood risk to adjacent properties. The greatest concentration of needs is in the older areas of Denver where much of the infrastructure is undersized and does not meet current criteria.

Focus Basin projects are identified in storm master planning efforts and prioritized based upon multiple factors including the likelihood of flooding, reported damages, neighborhood vulnerability, and one-build opportunities.

In the last five years, Wastewater has constructed over 8-miles of new pipes in focus basins including crossing Blake St. and Downing St. in Five Points as well as construction of a new 120-inch pipe in Jackson Street crossing Colfax Avenue.

Focus Basins is a sub-program of The Wastewater 6-Year Water Plan, a comprehensive program to guide capital budgeting within the Wastewater Enterprise Fund.

Focus Waterways

Focus Waterway projects are major stormwater capital improvements along the South Platte River and its tributary creeks, gulches, and open channels.  These projects plan, design and construct improvements to mitigate flooding, channel overtopping, dam or levee breaches to protect homes, businesses and improve public safety.  Secondary benefits and byproducts of these projects are ecosystem restoration, water quality, recreation and economic development potential.

Focus Waterway project have high level over-arching goals across other agencies and several priority waterways have a high potential to leverage or match outside funding sources.

Focus Waterways is a sub-program of The Wastewater 6-Year Water Plan, a comprehensive program to guide capital budgeting within the Wastewater Enterprise Fund.

Green Infrastructure

Water Quality projects mitigate the various pollutants generated by urbanized areas that are negatively impacting the receiving water bodies and their designated beneficial uses.  The Water Quality program establishes the means to plan, design, and construct specific water quality projects within priority basins in order to treat stormwater runoff and meet the current TMDL for E.coli that exists on the South Platte River and future regulations for nutrients.  Water quality facilities, also known as green infrastructure, provide other citywide benefits including increased open space, heat island mitigation, improved air quality, enhanced community livability and linkages for connectivity in urban corridors.

Green Infrastructure (GI) opportunities can occur on several different scales and have been identified from large (regional) and sub-regional through smaller site-scale practices.  On a regional scale, green infrastructure refers to a network of parks, open spaces, drainageways, and floodplains which help mitigate the impacts of impervious surfaces and urbanization.  Site scale smaller controls, such as green streets, include smaller controls that are often well suited for urban settings.  Regardless of scale, green infrastructure design mimics nature and uses vegetation, soils and roots to soil, filter and treat stormwater runoff.

Green Infrastructure is a sub-program of The Wastewater 6-Year Water Plan, a comprehensive program to guide capital budgeting within the Wastewater Enterprise Fund.

Sanitary

Sanitary capital projects are generally associated with upgrades to the existing system and linked to areas of growth or change where the existing system requires greater capacity to meet the city's future projected flow.  Sanitary projects can also provide long term benefits and efficiencies to reducing demands at lift stations and reducing overall maintenance.

Sanitary capacity issues are identified in the sanitary master plan and prioritized using an array of technical and social factors.  Sanitary sewers with condition issues (i.e. cracking, root intrusion, etc.) are identified by ongoing CCTV inspection and tracked in the city’s asset inventory.  This information may also be used to identify capital needs when necessary.

In the last five years, Denver provided significant improvement to sanitary systems in the Golden Triangle, Elyria/Swansea, Globeville, and Cherry Creek neighborhoods through both open-cut and trenchless construction methods.  Looking ahead, there remains substantial need to support operational based lining programs with capital investment as well as more recently discovered needs to replace lift stations that have reached their service life and are beyond repair.

Sanitary is a sub-program of The Wastewater 6-Year Water Plan, a comprehensive program to guide capital budgeting within the Wastewater Enterprise Fund.

Large-Scale Initiatives

Large-Scale Initiatives are multi-agency, multi-functional programs that will require large investment, as well as diverse partnership opportunities.

The Sub-programs leverage a host of local and federal agencies, including Mile High Flood District, Colorado Water Conservation Board, The Greenway Foundation, Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Denver Water, among others.

Large Scale Initiatives is a sub-program of The Wastewater 6-Year Water Plan, a comprehensive program to guide capital budgeting within the Wastewater Enterprise Fund.