This article is part of our feature on the future of wastewater in the U.S.’s fastest growing metro areas. We’re using the Transcend Design Generator to automatically build, expand, or upgrade regional wastewater treatment systems in each of these regions.
The next area that makes our list of the TOP100 fastest growing counties is close to the center of the United States, near some of the most picturesque parts of the country – the Great Rocky Mountains.
There are five counties at the foot of the Rockies that surround the largest city in the region, Denver.
Denver (43), Arapahoe (62), Weld (69), Adams (74), and Douglas County (77) are all located near one another, which makes Denver and the surrounding areas one of the largest metropolitan areas in the US. To support these counties there are two current plants: the Robert W. Hite Treatment facility, sized for 220 MGD, and the Northern Treatment Plant, which is much smaller at 28.8 MGD.
Will these be enough to manage all the wastewater in the region, assuming Denver grows at the same rate it historically has? We have a fixed number that we use here at Transcend to calculate the population equivalent for a given wastewater plant in this region. It is 2.2 million people in case of the larger facility, which comes to exactly 100 gallons per capita per day.
If we combine all the counties contributing to Denver’s growth there are 3.7 million people in the metro area. Even if we disqualify Weld county, which is not always officially counted as part of the metro area, we are still at 3.35 million. This means that Denver is very much on par for either a large extension of the Northern Treatment plant, or a new plant.
Let’s go with the second approach and build an 80 MGD facility, which would fit available land space quite well. We’ll build in the Aurora region, since that part is currently the highest growing suburb of the area. The existing plants are located near the northern part of the city, and there is a lot of space around the Space Force center, so we selected a large open field, and let the software do the rest!
If you enjoyed this piece you may also want to read about the future of wastewater in Fresno!