Project Profile: Pipeline Control Vault Installation

City of Louisville, Colorado

The installation of a new pipeline control vault by CGRS will provide automated adjustment of water flow and cleaning of excess debris, ensuring residents have plenty of water and taking a load off the City of Louisville’s Public Works staff.

According to a summary of the project presented to the City Council, the new vault’s design allows for the remote control of raw water deliveries from the Louisville Pipeline, which supplies approximately 30% of the City’s water, to both of the City’s water treatment plants. Current operations require the manual adjustment of valves in the field, including locations within McCaslin Boulevard and on the shoulder of Marshall Road (Colorado 170). The automated process means staff won’t be needed during the majority of these situations, allowing for faster response times in flow changes and the ability to split flows between the two water-treatment plants.

Another aspect of project will improve the intake structure screen cleaning process where the pipeline diverts water from South Boulder Creek in Eldorado Springs. During times of excessive debris in the creek, City staff currently must clean the water manually several times a day. Without the cleaning process, the intake can clog, restricting the amount of diversions the City is legally entitled to and reducing the City’s water supply. With this project, the cleaning process becomes fully automated and occurs at precise times when meeting predetermined conditions.

Work site - Environmental Consulting Company - CGRS
Work site - Environmental Consulting Company - CGRS
Boulder County Project - Environmental Consulting Company - CGRS

Overall the increase in flexibility that the control vault and the associated work will provide is vital to greater efficiencies in managing water supply operations, according to the summary.

CGRS couldn’t begin installing the pipeline control vault until winter set in because that’s when water use is lowest and the impact of shutting down the water line is minimal.

The job entails:

  • Excavating approximately 500 cubic yards of soil to create a 10-foot-deep hole;
  • Removing approximately 200 linear feet of existing pipe;
  • Installing a vault that is 17 feet long by 13 feet wide by 7 feet deep (essentially a giant basement);
  • Putting in control valves, a control panel and a water meter to track how much water goes to each plant;
  • Connecting control valves and new 16-inch diameter pipe to the existing water line;
  • Backfilling around and over the vault;
  • Installing flow meters, electronic valves and sensors;
  • Fencing the vault entrance; and
  • Reseeding the affected area, which is in an easement owned by the City of Louisville within Boulder Open space.

The job hit a detour when the subcontractor that was to provide the precast vault was unable to fulfill its obligation. CGRS had provided for casting the vault in place in its bid for such a situation and identified the necessary subcontractor. Allowing the walls alone to curate or solidify can take 28 days, delaying completion, but CGRS will wrap up the project long before the City of Louisville needs the water flowing again.