All of South Adams County Water

South Adams County Water and Sanitation District (SACWSD) broke ground today on the Klein Enhancement Project, an $80-million ion-exchange water treatment system that will provide a sustainable supply of high-quality drinking water that meets all state and federal regulations. SACWSD is a special district providing water and sanitary sewer services to all of Commerce City and parts of unincorporated Adams County.

While SACWSD drinking water already meets all state and federal drinking water standards, the Klein Enhancement Project will allow the District to continue providing high-quality drinking water while doing so in a way that is reliable, sustainable and cost effective.

For more than 70 years, SACWSD has provided water services for Commerce City and parts of unincorporated Adams County and today reaches nearly 70,000 people over 65 square miles. The District covers one of Colorado’s fastest growing communities known for its diversity and a proud tradition built on community, industry, agriculture and family.

In 2018, SACWSD on its own initiative tested for and found per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in its drinking water supply. Since then, SACWSD has taken numerous steps to ensure that its drinking water remains below the non-binding EPA levels for PFAS, including purchasing lab equipment to test levels regularly, buying more treated drinking water from Denver Water, and temporarily employing additional treatment methods.

On April 10, 2024 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it finalized the first ever adoption of a national drinking water standard for PFAS. Public drinking water providers, including SACWSD, will be required to meet the new standard by the year 2029.

Because of the District’s proactive and aggressive approach to treating for emerging contaminants like PFAS, it already meets the new EPA standards, even though they do not go into effect for five more years.

In anticipation of the new EPA regulatory standard, SACWSD and its engineering consultant, Brown and Caldwell, evaluated numerous treatment technologies and initiated design of a new ion exchange water treatment facility in 2021.

SACWSD moved forward swiftly with planning for the treatment project, facilitating public engagement, obtaining necessary federal, state, and local approvals, and applying for and receiving federal grants. The District completed its project team in 2023 by adding PCL Construction as its construction manager in a competitive selection process. The project is expected to be completed in late 2026.

To pay for the project, SACWSD applied for grant funding that was made available through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to mitigate emerging contaminants in communities like Commerce City that qualify as disadvantaged under state and federal criteria. SACWSD has been awarded nearly $61 million in federal grant funds and expects to bridge the project funding gap with a low-interest loan through Colorado’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

"There's no reason why parents in Commerce City, one of the fastest-growing communities in Colorado, should have to worry about the water their kids are drinking," said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet at the event. "The Klein Enhancement project extends the years of progress South Adams County Water and Sanitation District has already made on removing contaminants from families' faucets. The funds for this project from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law reaffirm our commitment to giving every community access to clean water.”

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering for Colorado communities, contributing more than $60 million toward the construction of the Klein Facility Drinking Water Enhancement project in South Adams County,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker in her remarks at the groundbreaking.  “EPA and CDPHE are working with utilities in every corner of the state to invest in new safe drinking water technologies and capacity in the communities where they are needed most. Today is a milestone in our collective effort to address PFAS chemicals and other emerging contaminants in drinking water, here in Commerce City and in Colorado.”

“The District is committed to continuing to provide our residents with drinking water that exceeds state and federal drinking water regulations,” said District Manager Abel Moreno. “Commerce City is a disadvantaged community that has been heavily impacted by a number of environmental challenges through no fault of its residents and the financial burden of this project should not fall on our ratepayers. We are grateful to President Biden, his administration and Congress for passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in 2021. Places like Commerce City are exactly the kinds of communities that should benefit from that funding identified for emerging contaminants.”

“We are completely committed to protecting the quality of our drinking water, and the sustainability of our water supplies is always top of mind,” said District Board President Heidi McNeely. “This project will allow us to maximize the sustainability of our own groundwater sources, rather than purchasing water from outside the district. And we will continue to treat our drinking water supplies so that our community will have water that meets all safety regulations from both the State of Colorado and the EPA for decades into the future.”

"Clean drinking water is the lifeblood of a thriving community. We applaud SACWSD’s proactive approach to bolstering their water infrastructure and take pride in our role in providing the citizens of Commerce City access to this essential resource," said Dana Lebeda, who leads PCL's civil construction division in Denver.

Groundbreaking group Sen. EPA  Abel PCL Brown and Caldwell