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Water 2025 FAQs

The 2015 Water Treatment Facilities Master Plan evaluated the condition of our existing water treatment facilities and recommended that a new facility in a new location that will save ratepayers the most money in the long-term.  The plan to replace Semper is anticipated to be a 25-year plan with the intention to decommission Semper in 2040 after it has served the City for a full 70 years. 

The master plan considered six alternatives shown on page 3 of the Executive Summary. The master plan determined that continuing to patch and repair Semper would cost residents more money in the long-term while not providing improvements to water quality. 

Semper’s treatment technology is from the 1960s and the site is too small to add modern treatment processes without disturbing Semper’s normal operations and risking Westminster’s drinking water supply. Semper currently requires a $4 million annual investment to maintain existing, aged equipment with no additional improvements to treatment technology. 

Westminster is partnering with Denver Water, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Boulder and the CO Department of Public Health and Environment to respond to the potential impacts of wildfires. This is an issue being dealt with across the West and the need for broad coordination in response to protecting water supplies will continue to grow.

The communities hardest hit by last year’s fires are Fort Collins and Greeley who switched to a secondary water source to provide safe drinking for their communities. These water providers have said that if it weren’t for secondary water supplies, they would have not been able to treat water post-fire. It’s important to note that Westminster does not have a secondary water supply.

To learn more about how the 2020 wildfires are affecting neighboring communities in Greeley and Fort Collings, please review coverage from local news outlets below:

Major wildfires can negatively impact water quality in a watershed for many years.  Depending on the watershed and the fire, there could be up to 10 years of degraded water quality. Fort Collins and Greeley are dealing with water quality impacts well after the fires from Fall 2020.

Northwest Water Treatment Facility (NWTF) is rated for 15 millions gallons per day (MGD).  Our City’s winter, indoor use is 9-10 MGD and demand can reach as high as 35 MGDs during the spring, summer, and fall demand when homes, businesses, parks and golf courses begin irrigating their lawns. If the city was forced to rely solely on NWTF, we would have to limit non-essential water uses such as irrigation for years. Limitations on irrigation could potentially range from two days per week to complete restriction of all outdoor watering. 

Additionally – the City is not the sole decision maker to divert water with wildfire-related pollutants from Standley Lake. Thornton and Northglenn would likely require that this water flow to Standley under their own water rights. Standley Lake is Northglenn sole source of water and would not have another option. Thornton currently has an advanced treatment facility built in 2020, and they are in a better position to effectively treat wildfire-related pollutants.

Water 2025 is a long-term planning project to replace the City of Westminster’s aging Semper Water Treatment Facility.  Our water distribution system requires continuous maintenance and planned upgrades to ensure high-quality drinking water now and in the future.

Semper Water Treatment Facility has served the Westminster community faithfully for almost 50 years and has the ability to continue providing high-quality drinking water for 15 to 20 more years. However, as Semper nears the end of its planned lifecycle, the city must begin proactively planning for a new drinking water treatment facility to meet the needs of our current and future generations who rely on this essential public service.

As Westminster’s current drinking water treatment system continues to age it becomes more expensive to maintain. It also becomes increasingly vulnerable to threats posed by drought and wildfire. We need to responsibly plan for the needs of future generations so our children can enjoy the same quality of life we do today.

These improvements are needed, regardless of growth. In fact, water-wise actions by customers have helped reduce overall water use since 2000.

Building a new treatment plant will be more efficient and more cost-effective for our customers than upgrades to existing facilities. A new drinking water facility using advanced technology will provide:

  • Greater resiliency in times of challenging treatment, such as a wildfire in our watershed.
  • Greater flexibility to adapt to changing regulatory standards.
  • Greater security to address future shortages in our water supply.
  • Greater opportunities for environmental sustainability and resource stewardship.
Yes! The site selection considered multiple environmental factors such as energy, floodplain, and impact to open space.
Moving forward, the project will use Envision, a certification framework for sustainable infrastructure projects, to guide decisions on the project.

Water 2025 is a City of Westminster-led project. The Water 2025 project team includes City staff, as well as engineering experts. 

The City of Westminster is also forming a volunteer Design Working Group comprised of community members to inform the design of the new water treatment facility. This group will meet five times in 2020 and 2021 to provide input to be considered by the design and construction team regarding aesthetics and construction management and will help ensure that the facility becomes an integral part of our community. 

Additional community feedback will be gathered throughout the project through a series of events, online updates and more.