Construction of the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District’s Northern Treatment Plant, located on a 90-acre site in Brighton, is substantially complete. Following months of comprehensive testing, the new $417 million facility is now receiving and treating wastewater and has commenced its start-up operations.
During start-up operations, all of the Northern Treatment Plant’s advanced treatment processes are being commissioned, which includes several more months of rigorous retesting and process refinements. These commissioning activities ensure the new facility will not only meet or surpass all regulatory requirements but will also do so in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Commissioning activities are expected to continue until final project completion anticipated in early 2017. An opening event for the Northern Treatment Plant will be scheduled following final project completion.
“The original vision for a regional facility to serve the northern metropolitan area began in 1982,” said Catherine Gerali, District Manager of the Metro District. “Completion of this facility is a tremendous opportunity for the Metro District to build on more than 50 years of environmental stewardship while supporting community growth and providing safe, reliable, and cost-effective wastewater reclamation.”
On Schedule and Under Budget
In addition to the 1.8 million people currently served by the Metro District, the Northern Treatment Plant has the capacity to treat 24 million-gallons-per-day (MGD) and provide service to 300,000 residents in portions of Aurora, Brighton, Thornton, Denver, Commerce City,  and South Adams County.  During start-up and commissioning operations, the facility is expected to treat about 5 MGD, primarily from Thornton.
The $417 million total program cost of the Northern Treatment Plant is nearly $60 million less than original cost estimates and includes design and construction of the treatment facilities and the South Platte Interceptor, a nearly seven-mile gravity pipeline that conveys flow to the plant.
“Since construction started in 2013, thousands of people, many of whom are local, have worked nearly 3 million hours to build the Northern Treatment Plant,” said John Kuosman, NTP Director of Operations and Maintenance. “To deliver a complex project of this size on schedule and under budget is a testament to the foresight, hard work, and dedication of the Metro District, our members, and community partners.”
 A Community Resource
The Northern Treatment Plant provides opportunities for public recreation and education, in addition to providing wastewater treatment that protects the South Platte River. The southwest corner of the site includes more than a mile of paved trails around a wetland area that will be accessible to the community. Ultimately, these trails are designed to serve as a connection with a regional trail system that is envisioned to extend from Wyoming to New Mexico.
The new facility’s Administration Building also includes educational exhibits in its main hall to inform visitors about how wastewater treatment protects the South Platte River and benefits the environment. The Administration Building and facility tours will be open to the public periodically beginning in 2017 and an operating schedule will be established following the opening event.
For more information, please visit the Metro District’s website at
About Metro Wastewater Reclamation District
The Metro District was formed under Colorado law in 1961 and is the largest wastewater treatment facility in the Rocky Mountain West.  The district works with 60 local governments, including cities, sanitation districts, and water and sanitation districts.  They, in turn, provide retail wastewater service to about 1.8 million people in a 715 square-mile service area in metropolitan Denver. 
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Pre-scheduled phone interviews regarding the Northern Treatment Plant start-up process
are available upon request.