Tours

Tours of our facilities are a great way to learn about what happens to the water that goes down the drain!

Have you always wanted to learn more about the wastewater treatment process but were afraid to ask? You’re in luck because Metro Water Recovery can help!

Our tours let you experience the sights and sounds (and smells!) of wastewater treatment. We offer public tours for a variety of groups – including elementary through college-age students, homeschoolers, teachers, science clubs, scouts, senior citizens and more.

Providing a safe environment for our visitors is a top priority as groups are escorted through the Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility (RWHTF) in Denver and the Northern Treatment Plant (NTP) in Brighton. As a result, there may be areas unavailable for viewing due to construction or maintenance activity.

On a tour of one of our facilities, you will:

Learn the basic concepts of how wastewater is treated. 
Understand how wastewater treatment serves a critical role in the water cycle.  
Gain knowledge of how the treatment process protects the water supply for some 2 million people in the Denver metro area.  
Discover how you can improve the treatment process by properly disposing common household products and hazardous chemicals.  
Observe examples of our commitment to sustainability in our operations whenever and wherever possible. 
Observe examples of our commitment to sustainability in our operations whenever and wherever possible. 

Basic Tour Information

A minimum of five is required for group tours.  
Individual and small group tours are generally offered twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall. Check this page for updates and to make a reservation.  
While all ages are hosted at the NTP, tours of the RWHTF are limited to high school age and older.  
Tours are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. Tours should be requested a minimum of three weeks in advance.  
Overview tours last about 90 minutes and require extensive walking outdoors. Tours are not conducted on holidays, weekends (except on occasion when dates are determined by Metro), or during evening hours. Tours may be canceled dur to inclement weather.
Metro provides reasonable accommodations for tours (and any other public programs) in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. For more information or to request accommodation, contact Colleen Miller.

Click here to request information or to schedule a tour.

Digesters at the Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility
Digesters at our Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility in Denver.

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Here’s a sneak peek of our tours:

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1 The tour begins at the headworks where untreated wastewater (aka influent) enters the facility. The wastewater goes through bar screens to remove objects ranging from children’s toys to false teeth. Wastewater then passes through grit basins and primary clarifiers to remove solid waste.   

2 Next, it’s on to aeration basins where millions of microorganisms digest the organic waste remaining in the water. The wastewater then travels to secondary clarifiers where the microorganisms clump together and settle to the bottom. After further processing in anerobic digesters to kill harmful organisms, these solids will go to enrich Colorado farmland. The methane gas generated from the digestion process is used as fuel to power much of our plant operation. Meanwhile, the water moves on to the disinfection process to kill any remaining pathogens.

3 The cleaned water then tumbles over manmade waterfalls called drop structures. This location, called the outfalls, is where the cleaned wastewater (aka effluent) pours into the South Platte River. It’s easy to see the difference between the raw wastewater that came to the facility and the treated water as it leaves. 

4 The final stop of the tour takes visitors to the cogeneration building where methane gas from the solid digestion process is used as fuel to make enough electricity to power almost 5,000 homes! 

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Outfalls at the Northern Treatment Plant
Outfalls at the Northern Treatment Plant
Aeration Basins at the Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility
Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility

What Can I Expect During the Tour? 

All visitors must wear closed toe shoes for safety.  
No eating or drinking is allowed during the tour. 
Smoking is NOT allowed anywhere on the plant site. 
Dress appropriately for weather conditions as all tours take place mostly outdoors.  
Note that some areas require the use of stairs. 

Metro provides reasonable accommodations for public programs (including tours and meetings) in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Visitors requiring such accommodations must contact Colleen Miller at least 14 days in advance of the requested tour.

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Outreach and Tour Options  


Visitor Center at Northern Treatment Plant
Northern Treatment Plant 

Tours available for age 8 and up.


Aeration Basins at the Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility
Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility 

Tours available for high school age and up.


Class room
Virtual Classroom Option

Bring the wastewater plant to your classroom. Conducted virtually by one of our knowledgeable staff, this 30-minute presentation provides an overview of the treatment process and includes a video and time for live interaction and Q&A. Ideal for grades 3-5.

Click here for more information on scheduling a tour or virtual classroom session.

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