Platte Canyon Water and Sanitation District was organized by decree of the District Court in Arapahoe County in 1959. The District was formed to provide water distribution and wastewater collection services to a three square mile area located west of Platte Canyon Rd., north of W. Chatfield Ave., east of S. Pierce St. and south of W. Crestline Ave. Early developments included Bow Mar South, Columbine Hills, Columbine Estates, and Normandy Estates.
Initially, Platte Canyon received potable water from the City of Littleton. Littleton’s supply was derived from alluvial wells located adjacent to the South Platte River. Over time, Littleton experienced a degradation in water quality as well as an inability to meet increasing water demands resulting from growth within and outside of City boundaries. Littleton’s legal right to pump water from the South Platte River alluvium was also being challenged.
In 1964, in order to achieve a reliable water supply capable of meeting growing demands, Platte Canyon terminated its agreement with Littleton and signed a “read and bill” water supply agreement with the Denver Water Department. The read and bill contract prescribed that Denver supply potable water for distribution through Platte Canyon owned pipes to individual District customers. Denver Water also agreed to read District customer water meters and bill customers directly.
Platte Canyon’s water supply contract was amended in 1982 to allow the District to expand its boundaries without the prior approval of Denver Water as long as the District participated in building specified water supply projects with Denver Water. The District agreed to enter into the water development business with Denver Water by signing the Metropolitan Water Development Agreement and South Platte and Colorado River Storage Participation Projects Agreement in 1982. When the initial proposed water project, Two Forks Reservoir, was vetoed by the U.S. Environmental Agency in 1991, the District again amended its water supply agreement with Denver Water. Under the revised agreement, Platte Canyon agreed to limit expansion of its service area in exchange for a commitment from Denver Water to supply all of the water necessary to complete development within the District’s boundaries. Denver Water again assumed full responsibility to acquire and develop the water necessary to meet its commitment to the District.
Upon organization in 1959, Platte Canyon contracted with the City of Littleton for wastewater treatment services. At that time, the City owned a wastewater treatment plant at the northwest corner of W. Belleview Ave. and S. Santa Fe Dr. Platte Canyon was allowed to connect to a Littleton sewer main on the east side of the S. Platte River at W. Berry Ave. In order to transport wastewater to Littleton’s pipeline, Platte Canyon constructed a sewage lift station to pump wastewater from the west side of the South Platte, under the river, to the point of connection. A sewer outfall pipe was then constructed from the lift station south to W. Bowles Ave, west to S. Platte Canyon Rd., and south to W. Chatfield Rd. This four mile long sewer main helped open development on the west side of Platte Canyon Rd. south of Bowles Ave.
When the City of Littleton’s wastewater treatment plant reached capacity in 1979, the City decided to contract with the City of Englewood to build a joint plant rather than expand its existing facility. The new plant was constructed near the South Platte River and W. Dartmouth Ave. Platte Canyon agreed to continue to contract for treatment services with Littleton and signed a new agreement to help pay for the new treatment plant and a large 54-inch pipeline to transport wastewater from Littleton, Platte Canyon, and surrounding areas to the new plant.
In 2008, Roxborough Water and Sanitation District constructed a sewer main interceptor that extended from the Roxborough District to Littleton’s 54-inch sewer outfall main at Belleview and Santa Fe Dr. This allowed Platte Canyon the opportunity to decommission the sewage lift station by directly connecting to Roxborough’s interceptor sewer main located on the west side of the river, adjacent to the lift station site.
Platte Canyon continues to own, operate, and maintain all sewer pipes that collect and transport wastewater from District customers to the the point of connection to Roxborough’s interceptor sewer. The City of Littleton bills Platte Canyon customers directly for wastewater treatment services.
Platte Canyon Water and Sanitation District was organized as a quasi-municipal government subject to Colorado statutes pertaining the special districts. As such, the District is governed by a five member elected board of directors. Administration of the District was provided by legal, engineering, and financial consultants from 1959 until 1971. At that time, in response to the rapidly growing administrative and operation needs of the District, the Platte Canyon Board of Directors hired its first employee to oversee the day to day operation of District facilities. Additional employees have been retained as the number of customers and facilities have expanded.
As Platte Canyon developed the staff and equipment needed to serve the needs of District customers, adjacent water and sanitation districts were beginning to experience dramatic growth and a need for full time staff services. Southwest Metropolitan Water and Sanitation District agreed to enter into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Platte Canyon rather than attempting to duplicate services already provided by Platte Canyon. When the IGA was signed in 1979, Platte Canyon exceeded Southwest Metropolitan in the number of customers served and facilities owned. Now, however, Southwest Metropolitan has grown to the point that it represents over twice the number of customers and facilities served by Platte Canyon. The IGA has provided economies of scale and has greatly benefited the taxpayers and citizens of both districts.
By separate intergovernmental agreements (IGAs), Platte Canyon also provides specified administrative and facility maintenance services to Bow Mar, Columbine, Lochmoor Water and Sanitation Districts, and Valley Sanitation District. The Bow Mar, Columbine, Lochmoor, and Valley IGAs were signed in 1986, 1999, 2006, and 2007 respectively. Bow Mar serves approximately 350 customers within the Town of Bow Mar while Columbine serves 600 customers in the Columbine Country Club, Three Ponds and Coventry Subdivision areas. Lochmoor serves only 60 customers in the Lochmoor Subdivision and Valley serves over 2200 customers in the southwestern part of the City of Englewood and the northwestern part of the City of Littleton. Services to these entities are provided and billed on an hourly basis rather than through a direct sharing of costs as is the case with the Platte Canyon - Southwest Metropolitan agreement.
Platte Canyon, Southwest Metropolitan, Bow Mar, Columbine, Lochmoor, and Valley are all nearing full development. The District’s are transitioning from a period of explosive growth in the 1970’s and 1980’s to a period of moderate growth in the 1990’s to the current period of slow growth characterized by in-fill development of smaller tracts of land. The Districts are now confronted with a need to renew aging infrastructure and, as a result, have begun to replace facilities that were constructed during the years immediately following creation of the District.