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Downing Reservoir Project Update

May 21, 2015

GSA, in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, continue to make progress with this project. A while ago, it was determined that remediation was necessary in and around Downing Reservoir, a man-made pond located on the west side of Kipling Street. During World War II (1941–45) the pond was used for disposal of industrial wastewater and wastewater treatment plant sludge and treated water from ammunition manufacturing.

From 1945 until the early 2000s, the pond was used as a storm water run-off pond with building material disposal above the sludge disposal beds on the west side of the pond. Since the early 2000s, there has been no water discharge from the pond because the only water it receives is from precipitation falling immediately around the pond. While the Downing Reservoir area has a park-like look, it contains metal contamination which needs to be remediated and removed. Details about this project can be found at

Earlier this year, trees and brush were removed from the area in preparation for the cleanup of Downing Reservoir. This material was ground up and turned into mulch. Some of the mulch is being reused on the campus and a total of 998 tons of it was shipped to recyclers so it wouldn't take up space in the local landfills. During the phase of removing some trees, GSA discovered and relocated two beehives.

Once finished, there will no longer be a fence surrounding the pond. It will have a shallow slope leading down to the water’s edge and a peninsula leading out into the pond that can be used to view the ducks and geese. It will also have a walking trail around it that will be landscaped with native wildflowers in much of the upland areas, as well as wetland plantings near the water level.

GSA is now moving into the project’s proposal stage and the goal is to award a contract later this summer. Later this fall you will see heavy equipment digging in the reservoir and dump truck traffic traveling via Gate 2 on S. Kipling Street between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Last Reviewed: 2021-12-29