Water Distribution System
The Greeley water distribution system consists of various sizes of pipes that generally follow the streets with in the City. The distribution system serves residences and businesses in Greeley, Evans and Garden City and the system is divided into four pressure zones.
There are 69.75 million gallons of potable water storage in Greeley. The water is stored within three covered reservoirs and one elevated tank. The system also has 457 miles of pipeline, 24,233 water meters and 2,961 fire hydrants.
The water pipes in the distribution system vary in size from 4" to 36." Pipe material is steel, ductile iron, cast iron, or polyvinyl chloride. The age of the pipes varies from the 1890's to new installations.
Treated Water Reservoirs
Cement Mortar Lining Project
Greeley Water Service Area Map (pdf)
Treated Water Reservoirs
Greeley currently has three treated water reservoirs: 23rd Avenue, Mosier Hill, and Gold Hill. Another water treated water storage facility in Greeley is the Gold Hill Elevated Tank.
23rd Avenue Reservoir
The 23rd Avenue Reservoir is located at 2503 Reservoir Road. It has three concrete reservoirs with floating covers. Each of these reservoirs have a capacity of 7.5 million gallons. In addition the facility has one 15 million gallon concrete reservoir underground. The 23rd Avenue site serves pressure zone 1 with water from Bellvue and Boyd Treatment Plants.
Mosier Hill Reservoir
The Mosier Hill facility is located at 1205 54th Avenue. It has one concrete underground reservoir with a capacity of 15 million gallons. The facility pumps water to pressure zones 2 and 3 and receives water from Bellvue Treatment Plant.
Gold Hill Reservoir
Gold Hill is located south of Highway 34 and is west of Highway 257. It has one concrete reservoir with a 15 million gallon capacity. It serves zones 2 and 3. The Gold Hill facility receives water from Mosier Hill and the Boyd Lake Treatment Plant.
Gold Hill Elevated Tank
Located just south of Highway 34 and 34 Bypass, the Gold Hill elevated tank is a new landmark in Northern Colorado. The tower will support a steel tank holding 2 million gallons of finished drinking water, 170 feet in the air. The water tower serves pressure zone 4. Greeley is growing to the west, and houses and businesses are being built at higher elevations than Greeley's three existing finished water reservoirs can supply.
back to top
The City of Greeley was among the first cities on the Front Range to have all accounts fully metered and to be using computer technology to read the meters. All of the single family houses and businesses in Greeley have a water meter on them. Multi-family units like apartments, mobile homes, condos and town houses have a master meter and tenants pay a portion of the water bill. Greeley began metering in 1983 and was fully metered by 1996.
All new development is required to install a meter to Water Department specifications. The Water Department knows how much water is used by reading the meters every month. The previous reading is subtracted from the current reading to determine the amount of water actually used. If there is an irregularity in the history of the bill, excessive water used or less than historically used, a work order is generated by the billing department. The Meter Shop will then go out to the business or residence and check the meter. The technician can tell if you have a leak by watching the meter when all obvious water has been shut off in and outside the house.
The Water Department routinely checks the water meters for accuracy. Of course if customer water use changes suddenly for no obvious reason (other than more people in the house, away from home for a long trip, or heavy lawn watering), they should report this, so it can be investigated. In most instances, when a water meter is wrong, it reads low rather than high.
Meter Pit Information
- If surface is not to final grade at time of installation of meter, the owner must raise or lower pit when surface is graded.
- No concrete floor is to be laid in the meter pit.
- No sprinkler system connection may be made in the meter pit. Sprinkler pit shall be 5' downstream from meter measured center to center.
- No major landscaping or structures shall be located within 4' of meter pit.
- Grade changes after meter pit installation shall require that the owner adjust meter pit cover to ½" above final grade.
- If pressure reducing valve is required by plumbing code. it shall be installed inside the building, immediately following the main shut off valve.
- All sprinkler systems installations require a permit.
- All sprinkler system connections shall have a backflow prevention device that is inspected upon installation and annually thereafter.
- The homeowner is responsible for the pipe from the curb stop downstream through the meter and into the house. The City's responsibility is from the curbstop (located on the property line or easement) upstream to the water main.
back to top
When people think about fire hydrants, they usually think about the fire department. It is really the Water Department that installs and maintains them. Flushing them is shared by the Fire and Water Departments.
Fire Hydrants are one of the few parts of a water system that are visible to the public. Hydrants are usually associated with the fire department because fighting fires is the major purpose of the hydrant. The fact is, that hydrants are so seldom used for fighting fires in smaller towns that it is easy to forget how important they are to the water system. The need to keep them well maintained for quick and reliable service when needed is paramount. A hydrant that does not operate when needed can result in serious loss of life and property. Each year, about one third of the fire hydrants get painted and maintained.
Other frequent uses for fire hydrants include:
- Flushing and cleaning water mains.
- Flushing sewers.
- Filling tank truck for street washing, tree spraying, winter watering.
- Providing a temporary water sources for construction jobs, such as for mixing mortar and settling dust
Uses restricted by the Water Department:
- Any use of hydrants by non-utility employees is restricted.
- Any use of non-utility employees or firms requires a permit from the Water Department. When the permit is issued, the water utility will verify that the water user is experienced in operating the hydrant.
- Water leaving the hydrant must be metered and paid for.
Landscaping around Fire Hydrants
Homeowners or business owners sometimes like to screen the fire hydrant by planting shrubs around them. This practice is discouraged and prohibited. Disguising your fire hydrant may make it difficult to find in an emergency. It also makes it difficult to service and paint and damage to the landscape plants may result. It is important and required by law to keep a 4 foot buffer area around a hydrant. Likewise, residents may be bothered by Greeley's bright red-orange color. They make take it upon themselves to repaint the one in front of their home to match the color of the surrounding vegetation. Again, this is illegal and may cost them their home or neighbors home in an emergency.
back to top
Leaks are an inevitable part of the water distribution system. Because of Greeley's proactive stance on seeking and repairing leaks, Greeley's unaccounted for water loss is approximately 5 percent which is well below industry standards.
Leak detection is done on an on-going basis with the Greeley Water Distribution System. The goal is to survey approximately 100 miles of pipeline per year. At that rate the pipes are surveyed every five years. The priority is on areas that have been prone to water main breaks. Using the Water Department's distribution system plat book, a target area is mapped out. A pre-amp or an LD-12 listening device is connected to the water main from a fire hydrant, valve or meter. Any suspected leak sounds will be correlated to confirm that there is or is not a leak.
When a leak is confirmed, the correlation process begins. Two contact points are decided for bracketing the leak. For example, a main valve at one end of the block and a fire hydrant at the other end of the block. After the pre-amp sensor is placed on both points, the distance between is measured. The length, type and size of the water main is programmed into the LC-2100. The operator runs the correlation measurement from pre-amp to the correlation point. It is confirmed with the LD-12 ground microphone. A spot on the pavement or ground is marked for the crew to dig up and repair.
back to top
Cement Mortar Lining Project
A cleaned and lined pipe.
Pipe before cleaning and lining.
To prevent the pipes from building up rust and mineral deposits again the pipes are then lined with concrete. Rust doesn't build up on cement lining like it does on the cast iron alone. The Cement-Mortar Lining Project can be done at half the cost of replacing the old pipe with very little inconvenience to the local customer. The City hires a contractor who specializes in this lining procedure and has the equipment.
About 81 miles of Greeley's pipelines were installed before 1950 and had no protection against corrosion and deterioration. When these pipes age, the rust on the inside causes restricted flow problems and rusty water. The old solution to this problem was to replace the pipe. This is very costly and disruptive to the neighborhood.
As an alternative to replacement, the Greeley Water and Sewer Department began using a new method to rehabilitate the pipe. With this method the pipe is cleaned and lined in place. As long as the pipe is in good structural condition and doesn't leak, this method is very successful. The Department began cleaning and cement lining pipelines in 1991 to improve water flow and quality. To date, over 45 miles have been completed. For the next 10 years, Greeley plans to line about 4 miles every year at an estimated cost of $650,000.
Selecting Project Sites
Cement lining is necessary in many areas of the city east of 23rd Avenue and north of 25th Street. An effort is made to prioritize the areas chosen by using the following criteria:
- Areas where residential water flow and pressure have reduced,
- Areas where there are water quality problems,
- Areas where fire protection flow has been reduced, and
- Areas that are scheduled for roadway improvements.
The Benefits of Cement Mortar Lining
- Improved water quality because corrosion deposits are removed.
- Improved fire-fighting capabilities because more water can flow through the pipes.
- Useful life of pipe is extended by 50 years.
- A cost savings is up to three-fourths the cost of replacement.
- Lining is faster and less disruptive than replacement.
back to top