The Platte Canyon Water & Sanitation District has over 76 miles of water mains in the drinking water distribution system ranging in diameter from 4” to 18”. Within this system is a substantial amount of cast iron pipe, which fails regularly and results in unplanned outages, property damage, and emergency repair costs. Most of the breaks that have occurred in the last decade happened on cast iron water mains. Within the last year, the District has experienced several significant water main breaks, leaving many residents without water for several hours and causing significant damage to the street. The District spent approximately $240,000 on emergency water main repairs in 2018, which is an expenditure we are trying to minimize in the coming years.
Each year the District updates its 10-Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to prioritize the replacement of water mains. The 2019-2028 CIP identified $9,500,000 in water main replacement projects through 2028. However, due to a significant number of main breaks since that plan was developed, several new projects have been identified and the 2020-2029 CIP water main replacement budget is projected to increase to $11,000,000.
While the District has replaced a number of failing cast iron pipes over the past 20 years, the current CIP accelerates the rate of water main replacement to the industry standard, which is 1% of the total system length per year. Fully funding the 10-Year CIP allows the District to be proactive rather than reactive when dealing with water main replacements, as projects are prioritized so water mains most in need of repair are replaced in a timely manner. It will also lead to reduced operation and repair expenses by avoiding costly unscheduled repairs and replacements of deteriorating water mains. Most importantly, the accelerated water main replacement program helps avoid unplanned water shutoffs in your neighborhood and reduces the potential for public safety, public health and property damage impacts.
The District’s Board of Directors believes this new approach to the CIP provides significant benefit to district customers. In order to fully fund the planned water main replacement projects, the Board recently adopted a monthly fee of $5.00 per household, which will be added to the water bill you receive from Denver Water. The $5.00 fee will be implemented on September’s billing cycle and will be reflected on the bill you receive in October. This recurring charge will be assessed on a monthly basis.
Should you have any questions about this new fee, please contact the district’s Assistant Manager, Cynthia Lane, at email@example.com.