Drinking Water

Water PitcherGolden’s Water Quality Laboratory is certified for water quality analysis by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and performs many complex analyses in order to document and safeguard your drinking water quality and ensure that it exceeds all state and federal standards. The Water Quality Laboratory also aids the Water Treatment Plant staff in tracking changes in the various stages of the water treatment processes and provides analytical grade verification for the on-line instrumentation of the plant.

In addition to the Water Treatment Plant, the laboratory also supports the Industrial Pretreatment Program, the Stormwater Program-Utility and the Utility Maintenance Division.

Some of the Major Analytical Techniques Used

  • Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS) – used for detecting and quantifying metallic elements
  • Multiple types of titrations – alkalinity, hardness and other analytes
  • µV-Vis Spectroscopy – free and total chlorine concentrations and other analytes
  • Total Organic Carbon (TOC) analyzer – used to track naturally occurring organic compounds in the raw water and throughout the process and water system
  • pH meters and other specific ion electrodes
  • Microbiology/Bacteriological analysis for the detection of coliform bacteria and other organisms
  • Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (external contractor) for all regulated organic compounds such as herbicides, pesticides and disinfection byproducts

Currently in the laboratory there is a combined total of 20 years experience in complex water analysis techniques between the 3 staff members.

Annual Water Quality Reports 

Drinking Water FAQs

1.  Does my water contain lead?
In the most recent study completed in September 2019, no lead was detected above the EPA action levels of 0.015 parts per million for lead. Historically, analysis of Golden’s water has shown it is noncorrosive. By controlling corrosion in the distribution system, metals in the pipes are prevented from being leached into the water. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment requires the City to do lead and copper monitoring annually. Even though we take great care to properly treat your water, if your home plumbing contains any lead materials, there will always be a risk your water may contain lead. If you are not sure what type of plumbing your house has, this resource from NPR can walk you through some steps to identify your plumbing. You can download a report of the City of Golden lead data from 2002-2019 and a brief lead informational sheet below.

2.  Is Golden’s drinking water hard and do I need to install a water softener?
Golden’s water contains some hardness (due to naturally occurring calcium and magnesium) but fluctuates seasonally as the water level in the creek fluctuates. Values usually range between 40 and 170 parts per million (ppm) and water is generally considered “very hard” above 180 ppm. Hard water is perfectly fine to drink and is not considered to be dangerous to one’s health. It is a personal preference to decide to add a water softener. Softeners use salt (sodium and potassium) and remove the elements that make water hard. While soft water has aesthetic value, it may not be wise to drink it if you are concerned with salt intake in your diet.

3.  Do I need a whole-house water filtration system?
Water leaving the Golden water treatment plant is completely safe, meeting or exceeding all regulatory requirements, so an at home water filtration system is not necessary. Adding an at home water filtration system is a personal preference. Many people use refrigerator filters or pitcher filters to improve taste, which may be related to the chlorine added during the treatment process for disinfection. Different types of filters also filter out different types of substances, so if you do install an at home filter, be aware of its intended purpose. Filtration systems also need to be regularly and properly maintained, or they could act as a source of water contamination if contaminants build up and then are released as a result of filter breakthrough.

4. Why does my water sometimes taste or smell like chlorine?
By Federal law, chlorine or some type of disinfectant must be added to a drinking water supply to ensure that the water at your house is free of bacteria and parasites. Usually, this amount is about 1 milligram chlorine for each liter of water (1 part chlorine per million parts water). A slight chlorine odor or no odor indicates that the chlorine is working properly as a disinfectant.

5.  Does the City fluoridate?
The addition of fluoride to our drinking water at the plant is not necessary. When ingested or applied topically during the years of tooth development, fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay. The United States Public Health Service has determined the optimum concentration for fluoride in United States water to be 0.7 parts per million. Dissolved fluoride-containing minerals are measured year-round in the water of Clear Creek and at the tap. The level fluctuates seasonally but is sufficient to meet the concentration recommended by USPHS.

6.  Why does my water sometimes look brown?
Brown water may occur when water lines are agitated during maintenance and repair operations. Running your cold water tap for 15 to 20 minutes flushes the lines and may eliminate the problem. If not, you can contact the Lab at 303-384-8181 or the Utilities Department at 303-384-8170 for additional help.

7.  Why does my water sometimes look ‘milky’ or ‘cloudy’?
Cloudy water is usually the result of dissolved air in the water lines. Air may be introduced into the lines as a result of line maintenance, line repairs, or fire-hydrant operations. The condition is usually temporary, although it may take several hours for the air to dissipate in the lines. Cloudy water of this type is not a health risk.

8.  What do I do if my water does not flow?
If your water unexpectedly stops, there may be a break in the underground line near your house. Crews can be reached 24 hours a day to fix broken water lines. Contact the water and sewer emergency line at 303-384-8158. Crews will be sent to your neighborhood to repair the line.

Water Glass

Water Quality Laboratory
esdiv@cityofgolden.net
(303) 384-8181

Regulatory Information

COG Mesa

 Golden has 402 acres of open space
and maintains 253 acres of parks right within the city itself.

Additional Resources

City of Golden, Colorado
COG Mesa