Rawhide is operated as a zero-liquid discharge facility which means all cooling water, process water, and industrial stormwater is managed on-site. This unique system saves water and minimizes the possibility of facility discharges. Most of the water stored in the 500 surface acres Hamilton Reservoir is used in Rawhide's closed-loop cooling cycle. Water flows from the reservoir into the plant where it is used for cooling steam. The temperature of the water increases during the process before it is discharged back to the reservoir to be used again. Process water used in the air quality control system and ash sluicing water are reused before ultimately being consumed in the plant processes.

Hamilton reservoir is underlain by naturally occurring highly impermeable clay and shale strata that minimizes seepage, although, due to the arid conditions, some evaporation does occur.

The majority of the water stored in the reservoir is secondary-treated effluent originating from the City of Fort Collins Drake Water Reclamation Facility. This "reused" water is transported to Rawhide through a 26-mile long, 24-inch diameter pipeline. Before the water is released to the reservoir it goes through an on-site treatment process where additional impurities are removed. This use of wastewater effluent in place of higher quality water frees up resources that benefit local communities.

Hamilton reservoir and parked cars

Windy Gap Firming Project

Platte River is one of 12 entities participating in the Windy Gap Firming Project, which will construct a dedicated reservoir to store Windy Gap water using existing water rights. The Windy Gap Firming Project (Chimney Hollow Reservoir) is needed to support long-term reliable delivery of Platte River’s Windy Gap water.

For Platte River, the Windy Gap Firming Project will increase water resource reliability for electric generation operations by providing a firm supply of Windy Gap water. Rawhide Energy Station relies on Windy Gap water for service, process and cooling water needs as well as to fulfill its water exchange requirements under the Reuse Agreement with the City of Fort Collins.

As currently configured, the Windy Gap project is unable to pump from its source on the Colorado River during wet periods due to the lack of dedicated storage capacity as well as during dry periods due to the lack of available supply. The Windy Gap Firming Project will provide Platte River with a reliable water supply by allowing pumping and storage during wet periods and a reserve to draw upon during dry periods.

The permitting process of the project has concluded, and all state and federal permits have been issued. The design phase will be completed by early 2019, and construction is anticipated to begin in late 2019. Current projections indicate that the project will be completed with filling to begin by 2023 or 2024.

For more detailed information, visit Northern Water's website

Proposed Chimney Hollow facilities