Flooding causes breach in Boulder wastewater pipeline

No immediate threat to drinking water

BOULDER - The City of Boulder reported a significant breach in its main wastewater pipeline to the 75th Street Wastewater Treatment Plant Friday night.

As flood waters began to recede, plant staff were able to see a breach southwest of the wastewater treatment plant. 

There is no immediate threat to drinking water, the city said.

The breach is a result of flood waters destroying a section of pipeline northeast of 61st and Valmont, crossing Boulder Creek. The wastewater pipeline conveyed approximately 90 percent of Boulder’s untreated wastewater.

City officials have confirmed that an approximate 300-foot breach is allowing untreated wastewater to discharge directly into Boulder Creek. 

There is no immediate threat to Boulder or Lafayette drinking water. Boulder’s drinking water is drawn from reservoirs upstream of the city; Lafayette has been drawing its drinking water from Baseline Reservoir and has not been drawing drinking water from Boulder Creek.

Boulder has notified federal, state and local authorities and is working on a temporary bypass around the breach to restore wastewater flow to the treatment plant. Officials are advising residents to continue avoiding flood water, and residents are being asked to minimize discretionary indoor water use, such as washing laundry. Industrial users are being notified to minimize wastewater discharges until Boulder’s system repair is complete.

Boulder officials are working with local and national resources to deploy contractors to make the repair. The treatment plant is currently processing about 10 percent of the city’s wastewater through a second pipeline serving the Gunbarrel area.