Castle Rock water director discusses 2019 projects

Town pushing conservation, water efficiency efforts

Posted 4/15/19

Castle Rock Water is an award-winning program pushing conservation and renewable practices among residents. Its overall goal to be 75 percent renewable, or more, by 2050. Water Director Mark Marlowe …

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Castle Rock water director discusses 2019 projects

Town pushing conservation, water efficiency efforts

Posted

Castle Rock Water is an award-winning program pushing conservation and renewable practices among residents. Its overall goal to be 75 percent renewable, or more, by 2050.

Water Director Mark Marlowe said the town's utility department has a multi-pronged approach to reaching that goal, from encouraging water-minded landscaping to sharing water with neighboring communities.

Marlowe sat down with Colorado Community Media to discuss the town's water strategy, what's next in its long-term plan and how current projects fit within that big picture.

“These projects are decades in the making,” Marlowe said.

One year of WISE water

In April 2018, Castle Rock received its first water from the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency Partnership, also called the WISE project. The partnership among Denver Water, Aurora Water and the South Metro WISE Authority combines water supplies at a regional level.

What WISE brings to South Metro WISE Authority members, which includes Castle Rock, is less dependence on groundwater. Some of the water shipped to town is reuse water that's been treated by Aurora before coming to Castle Rock, Marlowe said.

“It's been very successful. It's important to understand we do have more work to do on the WISE project,” Marlowe said. “We've built what I call the initial infrastructure. There is additional infrastructure to be built in the coming years.”

That infrastructure includes additional connections, possible new treatment processes and longer pipes.

Speaking of reuse water

Castle Rock has its sights set on incorporating more reuse water into the town's operation. The town purchased infrastructure in Douglas County about two years ago and has more infrastructure projects planned that will enable reusing its water. About 30 percent of the town's water will be reuse water by 2020.

Today, used water from Castle Rock enters the wastewater treatment plant where it is treated and then discharged into East Plum Creek. But with a pump station the town owns near Sedalia and a pipeline it plans to build, Castle Rock will eventually be shipping that used water back to town and filtering it through the system again.

“Instead of letting people downstream of us use our water, we want to basically recapture that water, purify it and use it,” he said.

The town is also expanding its water plant to treat additional contaminants, like caffeine or pharmaceuticals, which are not regulated or required to be treated, Marlowe said.

“We don't have to treat for them, but we will,” he said.

Marlowe expects the plant expansion, pipeline and pump station project will be completed in 2020.

From temporary to permanent

Roughly 15 years ago the town purchased a former lumber yard and showroom as the site for water administration. The site did not offer enough space to house all department staff, so the department brought in temporary trailers as office space. Nearly 10 years later the town built its operations and maintenance building, which allowed some staff to move out of the trailers and into a permanent facility.

Today nearly 30 staff members still work from trailers. The town is preparing to design and construct one more administrative building on the site to hopefully move the remaining employees out of the temporary space and upgrade the facility.

Marlowe said the current administrative building is outdated. Its elevator is outdoors, and customers must go upstairs to speak with staff. The new facility will most likely be one-story to give people easier access.

The budget as of now is $3.3. million. The town has put funds into reserves for several years to finance the project, Marlowe said. Design could take place this year, followed by construction next year.

“It's always been the plan to finish the site out with permanent facilities,” he said. “We have a lot of priorities and quite frankly it took a long time to put away the reserves for those buildings.”

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