Pressure Filters Keep Tourists Coming to Resort Town

Dec. 10, 2012
Water-related issues must be dealt with in a timely manner during Ocean City’s busy season.

More than 60 years after Churchill Hungerford approached Ocean City, Md., officials about the city’s basic water needs, Hungerford & Terry Inc. continues to help meet the burgeoning pure water requirements of the city’s ever-growing number of summer vacationers. 

The close relationship between Ocean City and Hungerford & Terry is six decades in the making and has ensured that potential water problems are always dealt with in a timely manner during Ocean City’s off-season, which is essential to avoid any shutdowns or rebeds occurring during the city’s busy summer season when the population swells from 7,000 to 350,000.

The relationship began when Churchill Hungerford Jr., son of the company founder, was vacationing at the resort and suggested to city administration that treating the water would help the community grow. 

In 1950, Hungerford & Terry began working with the city water department to treat water from its 25 wells for iron and manganese.

The need was identified in the 1960s as Ocean City’s water demand surged. It was essential to build additional water plants to handle the increased demand; therefore, two plants were built: the 44th Street Plant and the Gorman Avenue Plant. Fourteen pressure filters were installed at the 44th Street Plant, and 12 pressure filters at the Gorman Avenue Plant, all 9 ft in diameter.

Unfortunately, when the newer water wells went online, higher iron content became an issue. The South Well Field Plant had 2 ppm of iron, but the newer plants at 44th Street and Gorman Avenue experienced upwards of 12 to 14 ppm. With that level of iron in the well water, the filters had to run for much shorter time periods to compensate for the iron inhibiting the filtration process. At that time, Hungerford & Terry determined that pretreatment was essential to reduce the iron load on the filters. The pretreatment system reduced the iron to about 2 ppm, a level sufficient to ease the load on the entire process and to prolong the filter-run length significantly.

By the 1980s, it was time to upgrade the Gorman Avenue Plant. Four new horizontal pressure filters with a new clarifier for the treatment process were installed. By 1990, however, the city’s water department realized that the wells on the southern end of the island were being contaminated by surface water. To correct this, a new gravity filter plant with a new low-head well was installed at 15th Street at the site of the former plant. 

In 2010, Ocean City’s filter system had to be rebuilt. Hungerford & Terry proposed utilizing GreensandPlus to replace the original manganese greensand because GreensandPlus offered ideal capacity and could operate at higher flux rates simultaneously. The company rebuilt 30 pressure filters using GreensandPlus and anthracites. Internal distributors were repaired as needed. 

Today, GreensandPlus pressure filters are used to remove undesirable levels of iron and manganese from the well water. Over the years, pretreatment equipment, including clarification and aeration, have been installed to reduce the load on the filters to allow for longer run time between backwashes. 

Hungerford & Terry’s treatment facility improvement program, along with refurbishments completed on an ongoing basis throughout the years, have greatly extended the life and reliability of Ocean City’s entire treatment system. With a notable capital improvement plan and planned infrastructure upgrades for aging and obsolete equipment, Ocean City is counting on these major assets to ensure the operational reliability of its water system for years to come. 

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