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Parker Water set to use new disinfectant

Change will help secure more renewable resources

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Parker Water and Sanitation District is wrapping up the Water Resource Centralization Project, WRCP, which began in June of 2017, in an effort to provide customers in the district with more renewable water resources. The district has spent the last year creating 13 miles of underground pipe, and constructing three centralized disinfection facilities and one new pump station.

The last step in the process is to transition from using chlorine to using monochloramine as a disinfectant.

Rebecca Tejado, senior project manager for Parker Water and Sanitation District, said the quality of water will not be affected, and chloramines have been in use for more than 100 years in water systems around the Denver area.

“There's not anyone who shouldn't drink the water,” said Tejado. “The water right now has chlorine, the only difference is now we will use chloramines. Most people won't taste a difference in the water, although there might be some who do.”

The addition of chloramines will affect residents who are using at-home dialysis treatments, and those who have fish tanks or ponds with aquatic life in them.

Tejado said the district is using public outreach programs to alert those two categories of people to the change, and the need for filters that specifically remove chloramines.

“We are asking dialysis centers and aquarium and pet stores to help get the word out to their customers about the change, and how to safely transition,” she said.

Darren Lehrick, spokesperson for American Renal, which runs the Parker Kidney Center, said the change should not have an impact on their patients in Parker.

“At this time we don't have any home hemodialysis patients in Parker,” said Lehrick. “Our clinic manager is aware of the change and our patients will continue to receive a high quality of care.”

The change is necessary, according to Tejado, to help insure a sustainable water source for the future of Parker residents, and all those who receive water through the district. Currently the Parker area uses groundwater and deep aquifer water, which is not renewable. The Rueter-Hess Reservoir is a renewable resource, but according to Tejado the district needs to diversity its renewable water portfolio.

“The Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency (WISE) project started several years ago, and the idea is that Aurora and Denver water have significant water supplies, at times more than they need,” said Tejado. “South metro has the opposite issue, we're not so rich in water.”

Now that the pipelines have been laid and disinfection and pump stations completed, Parker will be able to receive water from Aurora and Denver through the WISE water structure. But in order to do so, the district's water must be the same as the water it receives, and both Aurora and Denver use monochloramines to disinfect their water.

“In order for us to accept their water as is, we need to chlorimate as well,” said Tejado.

Weather permitting, the water transition will begin in April, and will involve flushing the water systems. The district normally flushes the system routinely, flushing a third of the system at a time. According to Tejado, residents may see fire hydrants flushing into the streets for up to 24 hours.

“This is not a new treatment method,” said Tejado. “If you've been to Castle Rock, Denver or Aurora you've already drank chloramines, which is a longer lasting disinfectant. We're bringing in renewable water that doesn't take hundreds of years to replenish.”

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