Downing Reservoir Project

Heavy equipment working at Downing ReservoirThe Denver Federal Center (DFC) is a federal office park complete with laboratory, storage and office space. The DFC is operated by GSA and houses more than 28 different government agencies. During World War II, the DFC was the site of the Denver Ordnance Plant, a munitions manufacturing plant for the war effort. Due to the variety of prior activities on the campus and its long history, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and GSA formally agreed to investigate whether these prior activities had any detrimental or lasting impact on the environment and remediate impacts as needed. 

Project update:

As of September 15, 2016, the project is nearing completion of the soils removal phase of the project. Since the start of excavation, in March 2016, the project has removed 340,000 tons (250,000 cubic yards) of soil, carried by 14,000 trucks from the site to offsite disposal facilities. At its peak, there were over 200 truckloads per day carried off the DFC. Of this, 50,000 tons has been classified as Regulated Asbestos Containing Soil, and 85,000 tons was pond sediment contaminated by WWII munitions manufacturing wastewater treatment operations.  Additionally, 9 million gallons of contaminated groundwater has been treated, 8,000 tons of clean soils were used at a DFC solar array, and 32,000 tons is suitable, and will be used, for backfill of new reservoir.

The project is now transitioning into the reconstruction phase.  This will involve multiple loads of clean backfill and other material deliveries arriving on site over the next several months.  The outbound lanes of Gate 2 have been significantly damaged by the volume and weight of trucks exiting the facility, and are in need of repair.  In order to avoid multiple repairs, traffic issues, and potential vehicle damage, Gate 2 will be closed to employees and deliveries until spring, so that the contractor can isolate operations to the already damaged lanes.  The lanes will be repaired in spring 2017, and the gate will return to normal operations.  

Alternate traffic routes are: 

Gate 1 - Exit to S. Kipling Street
Gate 4 - Exit to Union Boulevard 
Gate 5 - Exit to Routt Street
Gate 7 - Exit to West Alameda Avenue

Over the next several months, activities to be performed are as follows:

Install groundwater trench and treatment system,
Backfill pond,
Install pond liner,
Install outlet structure and pipe. 

As a result of the project, the pond will expand from its original size of 4.5 acres to 9 acres.  It will be filled with historically decreed irrigation water from Clear Creek that will be used on the DFC.  A peninsula and park bench areas will be constructed to create aesthetic and usable areas for the public, as well as plantings of wetlands and native flowers to promote pollinating species.  

Downing Reservoir ExcavatedGSA is working in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on this project For more information, please download our project fact sheet.

For more project details, see the Downing Reservoir Fact Sheet [PDF 702 KB] and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

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Last Reviewed 2016-09-27