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Helping a mountain town cope with a catastrophic flood

Flooding in Colorado's Front Range left 2,000 residents of Estes Park without sewer service.

Now, the turquoise and green portable toilets are just a bad memory.

Estes Park Flood Rehabilitation


The Town of Estes Park lies along Colorado’s Big Thompson River, at an elevation of 7,522 feet (2,293 meters). Rocky Mountain National Park, visited by more than three million people per year, has its headquarters there.

In September 2013, catastrophic flooding struck Colorado’s Front Range, from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins. According to the Estes Park Trail Gazette, “When the Sept. 12 flood event finally ended, it was discovered that approximately 2,000 Estes Park residents living along Fish Creek had no sewer service. Over three miles of sewer line had been washed away. Much of what remained was damaged, too.”

According to Mott MacDonald’s Steve Ravel, on-call district engineer for the Upper Thompson Sanitation District, the District suffered damage to its collection system and minor damage to equipment at its lift stations and wastewater treatment facility. Customers were forced to use portable toilets stationed throughout the service area.


We worked with the District to assess damage, develop ideas for repair of sewer lines, coordinate with regulatory authorities and other municipal entities, coordinate with FEMA, develop project worksheets, and provide construction management and other services.


With Mott MacDonald's help, the District and its contractor installed 14,000 feet (4.3 kilometers) of temporary pipe, restoring service to customers before Thanksgiving. The local newspaper said, “Now, the turquoise and green portable toilets are just a bad memory.”

Most recently, we are worked with the District toward permanent sewer repairs that were completed in the summer and fall of 2014.

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