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Colorado Springs oldest water treatment still running strong with more years ahead thanks to upgrades

Phillip H. Tollefson
Posted at 7:37 PM, Jun 05, 2024

COLORADO SPRINGS — Major upgrades are now complete on the oldest water treatment plant in Colorado Springs. The Phillip H. Tollefson plant introduced its new pretreatment facility, which will improve efficiency in drinking water conversion.

The water that is treated is brought in by the Blue River Pipeline from the Montgomery Reservoir, traveling 70 miles by gravity to the utilities system.

Phillip H. Tollefson
A picture of the Colorado Springs Utilities Phillip H Tollefson Water Treatment Plant when it was first commissioned in 1942 as the Colorado Springs Filter Plant, the plant has had various names through the years but gained it's most recent title in 2018.

Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) made improvements to the plant due to its aging infrastructure that was no longer cost effective to repair. They say these upgrades are just the beginning of future plans.

"With the recent upgrades we had here, it has helped us tremendously," said Chad Sell, Plant Operations Superintendent. "But we're always looking to the future. We are in planning phases for the next phase here at Tollefson and that will get us in a better position to meet those regulatory requirements that are coming."

Phillip H. Tollefson  Water Treatment Plant
The former Colorado Springs Filter Plant pictured well before most development on the west side of Colorado Springs. The original plant was commissioned in 1942.

The Tollefson treatment plant has been in operation since 1942. Then, it was originally commissioned as the Colorado Springs Filter Plant, before going through a variety of name changes throughout the years, taking on Mesa Water Treatment Plant, before being renamed in 2018 to Tollefson in honor of former CSU CEO Phillip Tollefson.

The plant produces 25% of the city's drinking water, and the project was slated to cost $30 million.
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