Ground Broken on $23M Water Treatment Facility

Ground Broken on $23M Water Treatment Facility

Indiana American Water, a subsidiary of American Water Company (NYSE: AWK), joined Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler, community leaders and project partners at a groundbreaking ceremony in Muncie, Ind. to kick off the second phase of a major upgrade to the company’s water treatment facility on the city’s southeast side.

The $23 million project will replace the existing White River intake and antiquated and obsolete raw water pumping facilities. It also includes significant upgrades to the treatment and disinfection process that will help the company to meet new more stringent water quality regulations, reduce disinfection by-products in the finished drinking water, and enhance plant safety.

“These investments in our treatment facility are a major step forward in delivering on our commitment to quality water service to our Muncie customers,” said Indiana American Water President Deborah Dewey. “A quality, reliable water supply helped fuel Muncie’s economy in the last century, and with the improvements we’re announcing today, we’re well-positioned to continue and enhance that tradition of quality for our next generation of customers.”

To meet new, more stringent water quality regulations associated with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule, the project includes adding ultraviolet disinfection to the existing treatment process. When used to treat drinking water, UV disinfection provides an additional layer of protection against chlorine-resistant pathogens and microorganisms that could be present in surface water sources. The Muncie treatment facility uses both surface water and groundwater as its source of supply.

The project will also significantly enhance safety for employees and nearby residents by switching from using gaseous chlorine and ammonia to produce chloramines to much safer liquid chemicals—sodium hypochlorite and ammonium sulfate. The company will continue to use chloramines as a part of the treatment process but is adding a new chemical, sodium permanganate, which allows using less chorine at the front of the treatment process, further reducing disinfection by-products in treated drinking water.

A new chemical building that is being constructed as part of the project will further enhance safety at the water treatment plant by incorporating safer and more robust chemical containment and storage features.

The new raw water intake includes placing a new screen structure in the White River that uses bursts of air to automatically keep the intake free of debris and organic material present in the river. In-line sensors also alert plant employees of potential problems due to clogging. The existing intake uses a manual, mechanical process to clear the intake.

A new raw water pump station is also being constructed to improve system reliability by replacing pumps and electrical equipment that, in many instances, have been in service for more than a half-century. The facility will be moved from its existing location to a slightly higher elevation, removing it from the 100-year flood zone for the White River and making it less susceptible to outages and damage from flooding.

The project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, is utilizing a design-build concept, bringing together construction and design professionals in a collaborative effort to enhance the quality of the finished project and to more effectively control project costs. The design team of Gannett Fleming and Reynolds Construction is designing and constructing the new facilities.

In addition to the current work getting underway, Indiana American Water has also recently invested an additional $14 million in its Muncie system to install new wells, make repairs and improvements at the Prairie Creek reservoir, install numerous automatic main flushing devices to lower disinfection by-products, and construct a new finished water pump station and a 1.25 million gallon underground water storage tank at the Muncie treatment facility.

The company has also invested nearly $10 million to replace or relocate more than 10 miles of aging water mains in the Muncie area during the last five years.

Indiana American Water serves approximately 27,000 customers in its Muncie service area or a population of nearly 75,000 people.

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