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

Dash Drinking From Water Fountain by Mark Jones

1. Does our water contain any radioactive chemicals, radionuclides, or radioactive metals? 
Every 5 years the City submits drinking water samples to a commercial lab for radioactivity analysis. In most cases, a very small level of radioactivity is detected. However, these amounts are always far below any human risk level as defined by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Any radioactivity found occurs naturally due to our proximity to the mountains. Please see Golden’s annual water quality report for analytical results

2. Does my water contain lead and copper?
In the most recent study conducted in September 2014, no lead or copper was detected above the EPA action levels of 0.015 mg/L for lead or 1.3 mg/L for copper. 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. Because of this, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment requires the City to do reduced lead-copper monitoring annually instead of every six months. 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 2002-2014 and a brief lead informational sheet below.

3. Is Golden’s drinking water hard?
No. Golden’s water contains some hardness (due to naturally occurring calcium) but fluctuates seasonally as the water level in the creek fluctuates. Values usually range between 50 and 150 parts per million and water is generally considered “hard” above 250 parts per million. Sometimes grains per gallon are used as units of measurement for water hardness. 1 grain per gallon is equivalent to 17.24 parts per million.

4. 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.

Water Glass

5. Why does my water sometimes taste or smell like swimming pool water?
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.

6. Why does my water sometimes look brown?
Brown water may occur when water linies are agitated during maintenance and repair operations. Running your cold water tap for 15 to 20 minutes may eliminate the problem. If not, you can contact the Lab at 303-384-8181 or the water 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. During business hours, Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., contact Golden Public Works at 303-384-8151. After hours, contact Golden Police Dispatch at 303-980-7300. Crews will be sent to your neighborhood to repair the line.

Water Quality Laboratory
(303) 384-8181

Regulatory Information

COG Mesa

 Did You Know?
Golden was originally chosen as the territorial capital of Colorado in 1862.

Additional Resources

City of Golden, Colorado
COG Mesa