|New water plant delivers more capacity, state-of-the-art technology|
|Wednesday, August 28, 2013 2:19 PM|
By JOE SHOUSE • Progress Correspondent
PAULDING – In what has been billed as the largest construction project for the Village of Paulding, the $10 million water plant is up and running, producing what water and wastewater superintendent Mike Winners calls the best-tasting water in the area. The new plant went online June 13.
“It was the biggest project I ever tackled and now that it is competed and knowing the public is protected with fresh water, it was worth all the hard work knowing the benefits it will bring to the village,” said Winners.
With the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandating the removal of the old plant that had been in use for 50 years and the construction of a new plant, the village council approved to start the process some five years ago. Construction for the new plant began on April 10, 2012.
The new plant is a microfilter, reverse osmosis process offering the best state-of-the-art technology in the current water industry.
“This is a unique process with few communities using this process that requires such few chemicals,” commented Winners.
Prior to the new plant going online, the former process at the old facility was quite crude. For nearly nine years, Winners instituted a schedule of “flushings” in order to prevent the water from being unacceptable. A series of cancer-causing chemical compounds that would make contact to chlorine would cause trihalomethanes, forcing dangerous levels in the water.
“In order to deal with our problems we would have a weekly flushings when fire hydrants would be flushed to alleviate the issues. This went on for nine years. Obviously, the new plant will allow us to flush less,” said Winners.
Built in 1965, the old plant was in total failure, according to Winners.
“We basically had to massage the old plant in order to remain compliant. But those days are behind us. Right now, the biggest difference in comparing the old with the new is how we use less chemicals to produce clean water.”
Today’s program and new system is not a scientific process. Basically, the idea is to jam the water through the filter system and all the work is in keeping the machinery clean and functioning.
Again, prior to the new plant, the issue with turbidity levels was ongoing. High levels of algae would make its way through the ancient sand filter system, causing high levels of turbidity. Turbidity is the hazy or cloudy look in the water caused by the various algae particles that may be invisible to the naked eye, but make their way through the filter into the water. With normal levels being 7, often times when the algae would break through the filter, and levels would increase as high as 35.
“Clear up until the new plant went online, we were in violation. Today, it’s a different story with nothing but clean, better-tasting, even better-smelling water with fewer chemicals leaving the plant,” said village administrator Harry Wiebe.
For the past nine months, Winners and the water plant employees – lead operator Gary Donat, lead maintenance operator Dan Workman, and Allan Harpster – have been involved in extensive training.
“Hundreds of hours training and learning the computer systems as well as the overall plant equipment,” said Winners.
Mayor Greg White, obviously proud about the new facility, feels it was an amazing experience from beginning to end.
“I think the way the council worked together and then took the responsibility to work and communicate with the EPA and other officials in order to see the job completed was good to see.”
Looking ahead to the future, White went on to say, “Our hope with the new water system is to meet the EPA mandates in the future and have the new system give us a competitive edge to future economic development.”
Currently the new plant, consisting of 15,650 square feet includes an administrative wing, water labs, computer control rooms, conference room, work areas, record keeping storage facility and restrooms. The plant is producing 400,000 gallons of water per day with the ability to increase the amount to 2.2 million in the future.
Like White, Wiebe said, “The new project gives us a better quality of water and we have less stress when it comes to future demands. The new plant advances our community to a higher level and better positions us when it comes to economic development.”
In order to appreciate and remember the former plant and how it served the community for so many years, the old lettering on the exterior of the plant that reads “Paulding Ohio Water Treatment Plant” was transferred to the new plant.
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