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City of Boulder Water Resource Recovery Facility

City of Boulder Water Resource Recovery Facility

The Boulder Water Resource Recovery Facility pdf is designed to treat more than 25 million gallons of wastewater per day in a 20-hour, multi-stage treatment process.

  • Currently, approximately 13 million gallons of wastewater is treated per day and a high-quality effluent (treated wastewater) is returned to Boulder Creek.

  • Wastewater is treated using several different treatment processes, including:

    • physical;

    • microbiological; and

    • chemical;

  • Treatment includes disinfection of harmful bacteria, viruses and protozoa.

  • Many samples are collected and analyzed to ensure that the final discharge is meeting or exceeding the permit that has been issued by the State of Colorado.

  • The City of Boulder is regulated under permit number CO-0024147 issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

The facility essentially recycles used water and returns it to nature by discharging treated wastewater back into Boulder Creek. Class B biosolids are produced following solids treatment, which are land applied on agricultural fields as part of a beneficial reuse program. Biogas generated during solids treatment is captured and used beneficially, as well. 

COVID-19 and Wastewater

The City of Boulder is one of a growing number of communities participating in wastewater testing to learn more about COVID-19. In May, the city began analyzing samples of raw wastewater entering its  Water Resource Recovery Facility  to help detect COVID-19 indicators in our community.

The purpose of wastewater testing is to sense early warning signs of COVID-19 present in fecal shedding. Results can help health officials identify and plan for upward and downward trends in community presence of COVID-19. 

The city initially partnered with Biobot Analytics for sample analysis. In August, the city shifted its COVID-19 wastewater monitoring to Colorado State University (CSU) in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Metro State University (MSU) and other Colorado municipalities. For one year, wastewater samples will be sent to CSU for analyses two times per week and CSU will upload data to a dashboard maintained by the CDPHE . This project is funded through a $520,000 grant, secured by the CDPHE.

The city is coordinating with Boulder County Public Health to review the findings and to evaluate trends over time. Refinements in the sampling, testing and reporting methodologies are taking place as experts learn more about this critical issue.

COVID-19 and Wastewater Testing   from   City of Boulder   on   Vimeo    

For more information about this city’s response to COVID-19, visit .

Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE)

WBE is an epidemiological approach that has potential to complement current infectious disease surveillance systems and can be an early warning system for disease outbreaks. Through the analysis of population pooled wastewater, the emergence of new disease outbreaks at the community level can be monitored comprehensively and can serve as a leading indicator at a relatively low cost.

Wastewater surveillance is not a new area of research. It has been critically important in detecting the presence of poliovirus to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and more recently, to investigate opioid use in communities. Today’s analytical techniques for wastewater surveillance are more cost efficient and can quickly detect a broader array of population health and disease indicators.

It is possible that WBE may complement information gathered by health agencies and epidemiologists to provide information about virus levels. Viral shedding within the stool of those infected with SARS Co-2 begins to show several days before the onset of symptoms. The potential for WBE to help with the current pandemic is promising. For more information visit

The city, along with other front-range communities, have been collaborating with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Metropolitan State University and Colorado State University to assemble an in-state program to support the application of wastewater surveillance in Colorado to help address this pandemic.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is leading this effort through its Clean Water Program, which includes acting as the liaison between the collaborative and state epidemiologists. 

To learn more about the Colorado WBE Program, please reach out to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Communications Manager, MaryAnn Nason at  [email protected]

Boulder Water Resource Recovery Facility Background Information

During the past nine years, the one-megawatt  solar photovoltaic system at the Water Resource Recovery Facility has generated more than 13 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, saving utility ratepayers more than $500,000. The system began generating clean, renewable power in August 2010 and has operated efficiently and reliably ever since, producing about 14 percent of the facility’s annual power needs.

The city's main Water Quality Laboratory, Industrial Pretreatment Program, and Stormwater Program are also located at the Water Resource Recovery Facility. 

Water Resource Recovery Facility Informational Brochure pdf

Boulder's Wastewater: Past and Present pdf

Inside Boulder Video from 2014, following the September 2013 Flood Event



Grease Management
Industrial Pretreatment
Silver Management
Stormwater Quality


Solar Electric System
75th Street Nutrient Compliance Study pdf
Pollutants of Concern


Chris Douville

Email -   [email protected]

Phone - 303-413-7340

Address - 4049 N. 75th Street

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