FAQ – WATER QUALITY


Is our tap water safe to drink?

Yes, our water more than meets all regulatory mandates. Drinking water is regulated through the State Health Department (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Where does our water come from?

Most of our treated water originates from snowpack on the Western Slope in the upper Colorado River Basin. It is part of the Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) Project, which is the largest trans-mountain water diversion project in Colorado.

The C-BT Project consists of twelve reservoirs, 35 miles of tunnels, 95 miles of canals and 700 miles of transmission lines comprise the complex collection, distribution and power system. The C-BT system spans 150 miles east to west and 65 from north to south.

West of the Continental Divide, Willow Creek and Shadow Mountain reservoirs, Grand Lake and Lake Granby collect and store the water of the upper Colorado River. The water is pumped into Shadow Mountain Reservoir where it flows by gravity into Grand Lake. From there, the 13.1 mile Alva B. Adams Tunnel transports the water under the divide to the East Slope.

Once the water reaches the East Slope, it is used to generate electricity as it falls almost half a mile through five power plants on its way to Colorado’s Front Range. Carter Lake (where we take delivery of our water), Horsetooth Reservoir and Boulder
Reservoir store the water. C-BT water is released as needed to supplement native water supplies in the South Platte River basin.

More information about the C-BT Project can be found at their website for the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District at http://www.northernwater.org/

What can sometimes make my water smell/taste bad?

Water can pick up tastes and odors from new pipe, from low usage in the treated water or from natural elements in the source water. Taste and odor events often occur seasonally during blooms of algae or aquatic plants. Although the plant material is removed during treatment, sometimes the odors persist. Tastes and odors
in treated water are not harmful, but we do take steps to try and eliminate them.

Why is the water discolored?

The discoloration is usually rust from aging pipes. It is not harmful, but is aesthetically displeasing. Discoloration of the water can be a result of disturbances in the water line due to using a hydrant improperly, installing new pipe, or shutting off the water to a local area for system maintenance. Home plumbing can also cause
discoloration of the water.

Do I need a water filter?

Your tap water is perfectly safe without one. If you have an internal problem with your plumbing, you may want to consider a filter or treatment system.

Is bottled water safer than tap water?

Bottled water is only as good as its source. Many bottled waters are actually bottled tap water. Currently, bottled water is not as heavily regulated or tested as tap water. Instead bottled water is regulated through the Food and Drug Administration and is
considered a food product. Additionally, water utilities are required to release information on their water’s quality and bottled water companies are not.

Is there lead in my water, and if so what can I do about it?

Longs Peak Water District has not detected lead in their treated water. However, lead can come from the customer’s plumbing.

According to the EPA, two types of homes may be at risk for lead contamination:
• Homes that are very old (pre-WWII) with lead services or lead pipe.
• Homes that were built between 1982 and 1987, which used copper pipe with lead- based solder. Lead-based solder was banned from use on domestic drinking water plumbing in 1987.

Should I be concerned about radon in my tap water?

No, Longs Peak Water District uses only surface water such as lakes and streams to produce drinking water. Radon is not found in surface waters.

What chemicals do you put in the water?

During the treatment process aluminum sulfate (alum) and polymer are added to the untreated water. These chemicals bind with foreign matter such as dirt particles and form into large clumps that are removed during the sedimentation and filtration portion of the treatment. After filtration, fluoride is added as needed to achieve fluoridation requirements set by the State Health Department. Soda ash or caustic soda is added for pH adjustment to protect the pipes from corrosion. Finally chlorine is added as a disinfectant to protect the drinking water from potentially harmful microscopic organisms. All chemicals that are added are certified food grade (safe for use in foods).

What about waterborne parasites like Cryptosporidium and Giardia?

Longs Peak Water District tests for these parasites in the water each year. Both organisms are found in source water, but not in the treated water. We add sufficient amounts of disinfectant during the treatment process to inactivate Giardia and other organisms.

Effective filtration also helps remove both parasites. This is part of the federal Government’s Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR). We are required to add a certain amount of disinfectant for a specific amount of time to satisfy this requirement.

We try to conserve water. Why do your crews waste water by flushing Fire hydrants?

Even the best water will get stale and taste unpleasant if not used sufficiently. Conservation is important, but to maintain good, fresh water, flushing is vital, especially in areas where water usage is low.

Is it okay to drink hot water?

No, never drink or use hot water from the tap for consumption or food or beverage preparation. Hot water systems (tanks, boilers) contain metallic parts that corrode over time and contaminate the hot water.

Why does my skin itch after I shower in the winter?

Our climate is usually cold and dry during the winter, and we tend to take hotter showers because of it. However, hot water dries the skin. Taking a warm shower instead of a hot one should help.

How do I treat the water for my fish?

Always use a dechlorinating agent for chlorine.