New water treatment plant coming on line this month
North Liberty’s new water treatment plant, which uses reverse osmosis and nano-filtration technologies, is expected to be on line by the end of May. The new plant will increase the city’s drinking water quality and production capacity.
While our water sources remain the Jordan and Silurian aquifers, the new plant, located along South Front Street, will filter out more of the minerals associated with these underground water sources that, while not harmful, affect water’s taste and scent. As the new plant comes on line, customers with water softeners should make adjustments to account for the reduction in water hardness, which is currently 10 to 12 grains per gallon, to just 5 to 6 grains per gallon.
The new plant also brings online new wells and raw water mains, and replaces a plant built in 1977 and expanded in 2001 to produce about 1.6 million gallons of water per day. The new plant nearly doubles the system’s production to 3 million gallons per day and is built to serve a population of 30,000. North Liberty water customers use an average of about 1.4 million gallons of water a day, and use has peaked as high as 2.2 million gallons in a day. In all, the city invested about $20 million in these water system improvements. The old plant, located at 281 South Chestnut Street, will be decommissioned and used as a workshop for the water department.
Following the 2001 expansion, the city, in 2007, added a 1-million-gallon water tower along Kansas Avenue and a 39-million-gallon aquifer storage and recovery, or ASR, well, essentially an underground storage tank to accommodate periods of increased demand. However, as the city’s population has grown, and is now above 19,000, more of the redundant equipment was pressed into regular service and the excess water production, used to fill water towers and the ASR well, diminished. In 2014, the water department conducted a pilot study and design work began. Construction began in 2016. The plant design allows for a future second phase that would bring daily production to 6 million gallons.
The plant will host a ribbon cutting and open house for the public on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, from 4 to 6 p.m.