Boulder Owns and Operates Two Water Treatment Plants
Betasso Water Treatment Plant
Boulder Reservoir Water Treatment Plant
Together, the two water treatment plants have the capacity to treat approximately 55 million gallons (about 170 acre feet * ) of water per day and approximately 6.5 billion gallons (20,000 acre feet * ) of water per year. From the water treatment plants, water is delivered to customers through several hundred miles of treated water pipelines.
In most years, the majority of this water flows from the Betasso Water Treatment Plant via gravity and a smaller amount is pumped into the city water system from Boulder Reservoir Water Treatment Plant.
Both water treatment plants are operated and maintained 365 days of the year. The Betasso plant operates 24 hours a day and the Boulder Reservoir plant operates year-round to meet increased demand for water.
* One acre foot is equal to approximately 325,851 gallons, which is the approximate amount of water that two typical three-member households use in one year.
Water is sampled and tested every two hours throughout the water treatment process. This sampling is performed to make sure the plant processes are working properly and to guarantee that the water is potable before it leaves the plant. Potable water is defined as drinking water that meets all federal and state standards.
Located in the foothills west of Boulder, the city's primary water treatment plant processes water from Barker and Lakewood reservoirs.
**Please note that Betasso Water Treatment Plant tours are currently unavailable due to a capital improvement project that will enable facility upgrades to the treatment plant. Construction will last approximately 27 months, or near the end of 2018.**
During most of the year, water is pumped directly from the reservoir itself. From May through October, the plant may divert water directly from the Boulder Feeder Canal. Most of the water in the canal comes from Carter Lake and is much less mineralized (softer) than the water in Boulder Reservoir.
Tours are offered for free Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are based on operator availability. Two weeks advance notice is requested. Please be sure to review the requirements below under 'General Tour Information.'
Tours at the Boulder Reservoir Water Treatment Plant provide information to help participants develop a better understanding of where our drinking water comes from.
Tours are free and available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Two weeks advance notice is required.
- Tours can accommodate a minimum of 5 and maximum of 20 visitors per available tour guide.
- Requests for larger groups will need to be approved by management to ensure safety and the group may be split up into smaller groups.
- Single individuals will likely be added to the next available group tour.
- Tour days and times may vary based on staff availability and facility priorities.
- Tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Requested dates are not always guaranteed.
- A standard tour may take at least one hour to complete and requires walking throughout the tour.
- A full, in-depth tour may take up to two hours and can include a half-hour presentation, followed by a walking tour. This is based on availability of operators.
- Attire: closed-toe shoes only. Please no heeled shoes, sandals or flip-flops. Dress appropriately for outdoor conditions. You will be touring an industrial site and there is some walking outdoors.
- Tour groups that arrive unprepared or without the required number of chaperones may be denied a tour.
- The City of Boulder adheres to strict ‘no smoking’ and ‘zero waste’ policies. Please, no smoking, littering, eating, or drinking during the tour. Plant staff can advise on local meeting spaces suitable for group lunches before or after the tour.
- Restrooms and drinking fountains are available on-site at the beginning and end of the tour.
- Please do not touch the equipment without permission.
- Staff reserve the right to end a tour at any time. Safety is our first priority.
- Questions are welcome and encouraged!
School Group/ Youth Tours
- The minimum participant age is 9 years-old (fourth grade.)
- Chaperones are required for school/ youth group tours with participants who are 18 years of age and younger.
- Grades 4 and 5: 1 chaperone for every 5 students
- Grades 6 through 8: 1 chaperone for every 8 students
- High school: one chaperone for every 10 students
- Chaperones will be expected to manage the participants to ensure optimal safety.
To schedule a tour, please submit the "Tour Request Form" below on the webpage.
If you need additional information, you may contact the Plants Administrative Team:
303-413-7340 or PWPlantsAdminTeam@bouldercolorado.gov