Aug 05, 2010

Birmingham Water Works Board Announces System Improvements

Pumping station upgrades, EnviroLab equipment among enhancements

The Water Works Board of the city of Birmingham’s board of directors voted to spend nearly half a million dollars on necessary system upgrades and repairs and internal upgrades during its last Board meeting in July.

Among the items approved are purchasing equipment for sludge maintenance and cutting timber only as necessary in an effort to control an outbreak of pine beetles at Lake Purdy.

The directors approved $242,553 to repair pump No. 3 at Mulberry Intake Station, replace transformers and switchgear at Sipsey Pumping Station and provide a new casing and cover for pump No. 15 at the Cahaba Pumping Station. These improvements will help ensure each of these facilities continues to operate efficiently, increasing reliability.

The board voted to spend $22,500 purchasing an estimated 180,000 lb of hydrochloric acid for the chlorine dioxide generator being used on a 90-day trial period at Shades Mountain Filter Plant beginning July 27. The Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) is testing the use of chlorine dioxide to try to even further reduce disinfection byproducts, a federal requirement that water utilities must meet by 2012. Using this generator on a trial basis will help the BWWB assess potential results before committing to a larger purchase.

Purchasing a bulldozer at $112,411 will enable the BWWB to place and cover the alum sludge at their landfill, officials said. After considering operating and maintenance costs, this purchase will yield a return in 3.5 years and will replace an annual outside contract that is presently costing $62,000 per year. Spending $65,000 to purchase an additional ion chromatograph will help the EnviroLab, the board’s centralized quality control laboratory, to handle increased workload to meet new monitoring requirements that call for water to be analyzed for nutrients. New regulations call for more stringent monitoring of water sources, the distribution system and optimization projects for the filter plants.

Founded in 1951, the Water Works Board of the city of Birmingham serves 600,000 people in Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, St. Clair and Walker counties.

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