Denver Public Works uses UV light to improve water quality

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DENVER -- Denver Public Works has an interesting new way it is improving water quality in rivers. It is using UV light to zap E. coli in stormwater runoff.

The first UV vault is set up at the intersection of 36th Street and Arkins Court in the River North Art District. The stormwater runoff is directed into the vault and into a pipe that has five UV lights inside.

“The pipe has UV lights that are actually built inside of it. So what it does is, it zaps the E. coli that is in the water, preventing the E. coli from reproducing, and then the treated water is taken into the South Platte River,” said Heather Burke with Denver Public Works.

She said the lights are very effective. The units have removed tens of thousands of E. coli from the stormwater runoff.

That’s good news to kayakers in the area. Many use nose plugs because they are concerned about bacteria in the water.

“That’s awesome. Anything that helps clean up some of the bacteria,” Ken Almodovar said.

Each unit costs about $200,000. Denver Public Works plans to install others in the area. One is under construction in the Globeville area.

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