search icon

Water Treatment Plant

The Journey of Golden's Drinking Water Area 1: Clear Creek – Our Water Source
Golden's drinking water comes from Clear Creek, which originates as snowmelt near the Continental Divide and flows eastward through our city. While the creek water is unsafe to drink directly due to bacteria and parasites, it undergoes a thorough treatment process to ensure it's clean and potable when it reaches your tap.

Area 2: Holding Ponds – Water Storage and Pretreatment
Before treatment, creek water is piped into holding ponds that serve multiple purposes:

  • Backup water supply in case of creek contamination 
  • Settlement of sand and debris
  • Recycling of water from other treatment stages
Pumps then move the water from the ponds to the sedimentation basin.

Area 3: Chemical Treatment – Preparing the Water

As water enters the sedimentation basin, we add several chemicals to aid the treatment process:

  • Potassium Permanganate:  Oxidizes organics and metals like manganese
  • Ferric Sulfate:  Initiates coagulation in the rapid mix zone
  • Polymer:  Assists flocculation 
  • Sodium Hydroxide:  Controls pH
  • Chlorine:  Disinfects water before filtration
Area 4: Flocculation and Sedimentation – Removing Solids

In the sedimentation basin, the treatment chemicals act as a glue, causing microscopic particles to coagulate into larger, heavier clumps called floc. As the floc settles to the bottom, it removes nearly 90% of the solids from the water. The clarified surface water then flows into the filter gallery.

Area 5: Filtration – Straining Out Remaining Particles 

Our six (6) multimedia gravity filters remove the remaining 10% of solids as water passes downward through layers of anthracite and sand. Regular backwashing with compressed air and water keeps the filters unclogged. The dirty backwash water is reclaimed, with the clear portion retreated and the sludge sent for solids management.

Area 6: Disinfection and pH Adjustment – Ensuring Safety

After filtration, the water enters the clearwell – the first stage containing potable water. Here, sufficient chlorine contact time ensures thorough disinfection. We also add sodium hydroxide for pH control and corrosion prevention before the water leaves the plant.

Area 7: Storage and Distribution – Delivering Water to You

Pumps pressurize the treated water and send it to our reservoir system, which can store up to 10.7 million gallons. This storage provides water for drinking and fire protection. A network of water mains distributes the water to homes and businesses, with meters tracking individual usage for billing. 

Area 8: Monitoring and Testing – Maintaining High Standards

Golden was the second plant in the state to receive the “Directors Award” from the “Partnership for Safe Water;” a voluntary program sponsored by the EPA and American Water Works Association. Our state-certified Environmental Services Laboratory conducts daily testing to ensure our water meets or exceeds all U.S. EPA and Colorado health standards. We analyze bacteriology, chlorine, turbidity, hardness, metals, disinfection byproducts, and more. While Golden's water is considered "soft" to "moderately hard," some residents may opt for additional softening. Contact us with any water quality questions!
footer shape