Engineering a water quality treatment facility at Rio Grande Park while ensuring that the park provides an aesthetic environment for visitors.

Project Details

City of Aspen, Colorado

2013 - 2014

Aspen, Colorado


Rio Grande Park is one of the city of Aspen’s most prominent outdoor spaces. The park is adjacent to the John Denver Sanctuary, which draws thousands of people each year. The city of Aspen wanted to use the park space as a water quality treatment facility that would also have aesthetic value. The park was designed to treat stormwater within six individual ponds, all hydraulically connected, including both sand filter and wetland areas. While the park is designed to aid visitor interaction, what is not apparent to most park visitors is that the park also serves as a water quality treatment facility for a large portion of the runoff from the commercial core of the city of Aspen. Sediment-laden runoff enters the park through two sediment vaults that remove trash and larger particles. It then travels through the series of ponds and filter areas that are planted with native vegetation before discharging to the Roaring Fork River much cleaner than if it was left untreated.

RESPEC worked closely with city staff during construction to ensure that engineering requirements were met while accommodating the variability inherent in this type of innovative construction. The project was completed on schedule and has received rave reviews from the local community.  The water quality component of the project was used for educational/informative purposes, which added to the community's support.