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Betasso Water Treatment Plant Improvement Project

BVCP Update homepage

The City of Boulder is improving the Betasso Water Treatment Plant as part of the city's Capital Improvement Program. This $35 million project will replace aging equipment and support updated treatment processes. While the project may periodically result in minor impacts to some residents, no service interruptions are expected during the project.

While work is underway, Boulder Reservoir Water Treatment Plant, the city's secondary water treatment plant at Boulder Reservoir, will provide additional drinking water to the city as needed during construction at Betasso. The Betasso project is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018.


Betasso is the city's primary water treatment plant, and it has deteriorated during almost 50 years of continuous operation, despite ongoing maintenance and rehabilitation.

Here is the latest project update. pdf

View the previous project update (August 2017). pdf

Plant Improvements

The project includes seven major improvements:

• Pretreatment improvements
• Pretreatment building addition
• Filter improvements
• Filter valve replacement
• Residuals handling improvements
• Power reconfiguration and backup power improvements
• Outdoor tank improvements

You can learn more about these major improvements and additional details in an update pdf to the city's Water Resources Advisory Board from January 2016.

Potential Impacts

No water service interruptions are expected during the project. Impacts are expected to be limited to periodic heavy truck traffic to and from the project area to transport necessary concrete and other materials to and from the plant.

Residents, particularly those living near the Betasso Preserve, should also be aware of a current Boulder County hazardous fuels treatment project to remove wood from the area with a helicopter, which will result in sound impacts during the day.


• Contractor prequalification – first quarter 2016
• County special use permit approval – second quarter 2016
• Project bid – second quarter 2016
• Bond issuance – June 2016
• Contractor mobilization – third quarter 2016
• Project completion – fourth quarter 2018


The city’s treated water system is served by two plants – the Betasso Water Treatment Plant and the Boulder Reservoir Water Treatment Plant. The Betasso plant is located several miles up Boulder Canyon, west of the city limits. The Boulder Reservoir plant is located in northeast Boulder on 63rd Street, immediately north of the Diagonal Highway.   

Boulder's Water Treatment Plants  

The Betasso plant operates year-round while the Boulder Reservoir plant typically operates seven months a year – between April and October, depending on the city’s water demands. About two-thirds of the annual water supply is provided by the Betasso plant and the remaining one-third by the Boulder Reservoir plant. 
The two plants supplement each other to provide greater redundancy during the higher demand periods. The Boulder Reservoir plant was upgraded years ago with increased capacity to provide greater resiliency to allow the Betasso plant to be taken offline for maintenance during winter months if necessary. 

Need for Betasso Improvements

The Betasso plant has a rated capacity of 40 million gallons per day (mgd). However, the plant’s reliable treatment capacity is closer to 32 mgd, which raises significant operational issues. The primary purpose of this project is to upgrade the pre-treatment processes, replace equipment at the end of its useful service life and to make enhancements to ensure the facility has a firm capacity of 40 mgd for optimal operation. 

Additional Information

Project Contact

Engineering Project Manager Steven Buckbee, Department of Public Works, [email protected], 303-441-3279

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