The Delphos Water Treatment Plant, a new state-of-the-art water treatment system in Delphos, Ohio, was presented the Honor Award for the design of the system on Feb. 20, in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the 2008 Engineering Excellence Awards Competition, sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Ohio, the Times Bulletin reported. The plant went online in October 2007.
The new treatment system utilizes a new above-ground reservoir, sludge recirculation to enhance treatment efficiency and advanced granular activated carbon and ultraviolet disinfection technologies to remove trace organics and microbial contaminants.
Although the idea of improving the system is not new, "It was almost four years ago that the city of Delphos decided to get serious about water issues," Safety/Service Director Gregory Berquist said.
The process began by seeking money from the state to conduct studies to test the viability of an above-ground system. After determining it was a practical solution, they began to seek federal money, and received $3.9 million dollars to build the reservoir, Berquist said.
"We were really fortunate and really pleased in getting that kind of money," Berquist said.
When planning the system, officials had to consider possible future U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and regional initiative requirements for both surrounding municipalities and possible future industries located nearby, the newspaper reported.
"If we were to build something strictly for the city of Delphos, it would be a different system," Berquist said. "We built the reservoir as a regional reservoir and we built the water treatment plant with the capacity to handle outside interest."
The demolition and construction process began in April 2006 and the plant went online on Oct. 11, 2007. The new plant was built in the same location and they were able to keep a few things, including the pumps to distribute the water, the paper reported.
"We saved an excess of a million dollars by not going somewhere else, not even including the cost of the pumps," Berquist said.
Residents now have better quality water, and industries in Delphos are seeing less scaling and the water is easier on equipment, Berquist said.
"Before, food industries had to process our water before they could use it as product in their product," Berquist said. "If they're saving money, we're hoping they're investing that money back into their industry and that helps Delphos and the region, also."
The city was surprised by a noticeable decrease in the cost of processing wastewater, according to the paper.
"We don't have a real number yet, but we're using fewer chemicals because we're not processing the heavy metals," Berquist said.
The water is so clean that a study is ongoing to determine if the treated wastewater could be pumped back into the reservoir instead of the creek.
"What we're looking at now with the wastewater study, is can we actually reduce some of the disinfection requirements that we're doing and is it possible to create a closed-loop system," Berquist said. "The answer is, we'll know in three years. We have a high suspicion that what we're discharging could go straight back into the reservoir and be processed back through."
When the wastewater plant was built, the city also looked toward future requirements and possibilities, the paper reported. That plant is operating at about 65% load capacity and could take on wastewater from anywhere in a 10-mile radius.
The new water treatment plant is operating at about a quarter of its capacity, the paper reported.
"Did it cost the city a little extra money to do this now? Yes. But, in the backside of it, we won't be paying for it in four more years," Berquist said. "It's getting it done now in anticipation. The value to that is our water quality is the best in the region. We really do have top-quality water."