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Wastewater Collection

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UnderstanDinG Water and Wastewater 

Most people don’t really think about their water until there’s a problem—either it’s not coming out of your faucet or it’s coming back up the drain. However, learning about Westminster’s water and wastewater systems are a good idea. This knowledge could help you identify the type of problem you’re having, so you know which department can help you. 

Let’s start with the basics. Water that flows from your kitchen tap is known as clean or potable water. It’s also the metered water that you’re billed for every month. After you’re done washing the dishes, the water that then flows down the drain is called wastewater. Clean water and wastewater use different pipes, so your drinking water stays fresh and never crosses paths with wastewater.  

The brief, temporary stop at your home is just part of our water’s fascinating lifecycle. Westminster’s Wastewater Collections system consists of about 411 miles of sanitary sewer piping, 11,000 manholes, and six lift stations, which are pumps that help keep the water flowing. Most of our water flows from the force of gravity, but sometimes gravity needs a little help, which is why we have lift stations. City crews are always out and about inspecting our pipes, making sure they’re not blocked, rusted or otherwise damaged. 

The water that flows into your home comes from a variety of sources, including groundwater, rivers, and reservoirs. Westminster's water treatment plant treats the water to ensure it meets state and federal standards for safe drinking water. 

Once the water is treated, it is distributed through a network of water mains and service lines that run underground throughout the city. The water main is the large pipe that runs down the center of the street, and the service line is the smaller pipe that connects the water main to the meter then to your home. 

The water main and service line up to the meter are both owned and maintained by the City of Westminster. If you have a problem with your water service, such as low pressure or a leak, you can contact the City's Water Division for assistance at 303-658-2500.

Wastewater, on the other hand, is the water that goes down your drains, toilets, and other plumbing fixtures. It is collected by the City's sewer system and transported to the wastewater treatment plant, where it is treated before being released back into the environment. 

If you have a problem with your wastewater service, such as a clogged drain or sewer backup, you can contact the City's Wastewater Division for assistance at 303-658-2500.

What is a sewer collection system?

  • The waste from toilets, washing machines, sinks, and other drains flows from homes, businesses, parks, etc. to one of two treatment facilities.  
  • A sewer collection system is a network of pipes, pumps, and other equipment that is designed to collect and transport wastewater and sewage from homes, businesses, and other sources to a treatment plant for processing. 
  • The sewer collection system consists of underground pipes that are typically made of materials like concrete, PVC, or clay. These pipes are connected to each other and to homes and buildings through lateral sewer service lines. The wastewater flows by gravity or is pumped through the pipes to a treatment facility. 
  • The sewer collection system plays a critical role in public health and sanitation by safely and effectively removing human waste and other pollutants from the community. Proper operation and maintenance of the sewer collection system are essential to ensure that the wastewater is transported and treated correctly, and to prevent backups, overflows, and other issues that can lead to health and environmental problems. 
  • Overall, the goal of a sewer collection system is to safely and efficiently transport and treat wastewater to protect public health and the environment, and to make the most of our valuable water resources.
Wastewater that is generated south of W 92nd Ave. flows southeast to Metro Water Recovery. Wastewater that originates north of W 92nd Ave. goes to the City’s Big Dry Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility. This wastewater can be treated again during the summer months for irrigation water and is part of the reclaimed water system. 
In order to provide you with access to the city's sewer system for the disposal of your wastewater, a developer/contractor/or the City may extend the buried utilities to the property line. One reason to extend buried utilities to the edge of the road's right-of-way is to avoid having to dig up the road and disturb the pavement once it has been constructed. By installing the utilities before the road is paved, the City or a contractor can avoid costly and disruptive construction work later on.  
Even though the City installed the sewer service line to the edge of your property, you are still responsible for maintaining and repairing the portion of the line that runs from your property to where it connects with the City's sewer system, which is usually further out in the road’s right-of-way. This is because, as the property owner, you are responsible for the proper functioning of your sewer service line and for ensuring that it does not cause any damage or disruptions to the City's sewer system or to other properties. 
At this time, the City does not offer financial assistance to repair private sewer services. 
The City’s wastewater team conducts regular cleaning and inspections of our sanitary sewer system. Crews run a closed-circuit camera through City pipes, looking for any problem areas. If the wastewater worker sees excessive roots at your service tap, they will give you a letter advising you to get your sewer service cleaned. After you do that, you will need to call us back because many plumbers just push the roots into the City’s piping. We would need to send out a crew to re-clean the pipe to make sure the debris doesn’t hinder any other customers.

Flushables Aren’t So Flushable 

Despite the name, flushable products aren’t actually designed to be flushed. Sure, they might go down the toilet and out of sight—but certainly not out of mind. Those so-called flushable products don’t disintegrate like toilet paper does. So instead of breaking down and safely making its way through the pipes to one of the City’s treatment plants, it gets stuck along the way. Those flushable wipes could build up in your pipes, costing you money to fix. Or, they could build up in the City’s pipes, resulting in expensive repairs, which could in turn make your taxes go up. 

It’s not just flushable wipes—there are plenty of other items that should stay out of your drain. 

Flushing anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet can cause clogs and backups in your pipes and in the city's sewer system. Other items to avoid flushing include feminine hygiene products, cotton swabs, dental floss, paper towels, diapers, and medications. When these products get stuck in pipes, they can cause clogs that can lead to backups in your home, overflows, and costly repairs. It's important to dispose of these items properly by throwing them in the trash. 


Have Questions? 

If you have questions about Wastewater Collections or need to report an issue, please call (303) 658-2500. You can also submit a service request through Access Westminster

To report an issue with your sewer system or have further questions, you can call Wastewater Collections at (303) 658-2500. They will be able to assist you and send a crew member out to assess the situation if necessary. You can also submit a service request through Access Westminster, the city’s online service portal. This is for non-emergency questions only. Simply go to the website, create an account, and submit a request for the issue you’re experiencing.