Water, water, everywhere

Water plant will replace old infrastructure, be available for expanded capacity

By the end of 2010 the Village of Granville hopes to have a major piece of water infrastructure replaced as well as meet the latest New York State Department of Health standards, officials said.

Dan Williams, chief operator of the water and waste water treatment plants, said Friday the new equipment will replace aging pieces and bring the village into full health department compliance, all with an eye to the future growth of the area.

The new equipment wells, pumps, filtration and chemical pumps along with a building and replacement of aging part of the distribution system could cost upwards of $3 million, officials said.

Williams said the current village water system uses 16 shallow wells as a water source and dates back to about 1958.

“We’re basically going to stop using them and install four larger wells,” he said. 

Those wells will be larger and deeper but at the same location. A study conducted 2007 found the best site in the village for the water source remains along the Mettowee River; sites including near the Little League complex were investigated through the drilling of small test wells.

The current water treatment plant is a small building located off of Church Street where chlorine and other chemicals get added to the water system, but offers no filtration, a requirement added by the health department.

The new treatment plant is expected to occupy a structure about 24-feet-square, including room for future expansion.

“It’s actually going to be right where our water plant is now,” Williams said.

Williams said after the health department determined the village water source was ‘GWUDI,’ or ground water under direct influence, the village was left with several options, some of which it was impossible to take advantage of, such as purchasing water from another municipality.

Despite going deeper with its test well drilled last year, the water was still found to be GWUDI, necessitating the additional health department requirement of adding filtration.

Williams said officials considered the age of the municipal water infrastructure and decided planning for the future made the most sense. Parts of the distribution network used to move the water within the village predate the 1958 pump house construction and are in serious need of replacement, he said.

Due to anticipated growth and considerations for the future, village officials were looking at higher capacity for the future. 

“The plan, if we ever decide to use it, is to be able to provide the village with 1,000,000 gallons of water per day,” he said.

The village currently uses about 500,000 gallons per day.

The plan is to design and build a structure that can be upgraded and used down the road if the village ever has to look at using 1 million gallons of water per day. 

 

Water treatment plant. 

“Basically, what we’re building for the water treatment plant is kind of like the waste water treatment plant because we’ll be filtering the water and there’ll be holding tanks, settling tanks to settle out dirt as well as chlorine (pumps) and ultra violet to disinfect the water…caustic soda for corrosion control, all of that,” Williams said. 

The building probably wouldn’t be bigger than 24 by 24 feet even with storage for chemicals and room for more filters. 

The cartridge filters will have a similar appearance to a vehicle air filter, except these will be about 4 feet by 30 inches and the system will use about six or eight of them.

“But it will be set up so that we’ll just be able to add more cartridges (if demand increases),” Williams said. 

Williams said the new set up with the new well would be just like what a homeowner with a well would have at home.  

A pump, actually inside the well, will be pushing water out into the water system. The pumps and the wells will all be new.

What the village actually has now is an older, inefficient system that pulls the water out of the ground, he said. 

“Basically what we’re going to do is get rid of the suction system,” he said.

Work is taking place on two fronts currently. Engineers are working on the design for a filtration system for the current water system as well as the design of the new plant. The designs go to the health department for approval and changes are made based on their input; with final health department approval the village can move forward with bidding out the projects. At the same time the village has been seeking a source of funding for the project. 

“We’ll be out to bid, hopefully, late ‘09 early 2010, with a completion date about Dec. 2010 for the treatment plant to be up and running,” Williams said. 

“That’s what we’re shooting for right now,” he said. 

Williams says the ‘temporary’ system is more accurately described as a pilot study. The filtration incorporated into the existing plant will be used to produce data about the effectiveness of the filtration system.

This system will in turn provide evidence of how many filters are needed for whatever capacity of water the system deals with and the results the health department requires, Williams said. The village will then know how many filters he needs for 500,000 or 1 million gallons of water. 

“What we’ll do is put in full-sized filters and those filters will be used to actually filter the water for the requirement for the department of health,” he said. 

The health department requires filtration of such water sources and the village had to determine how they would figure out what amount of filtration would be adequate to meet the standard.

“The first thought was just to do a small study using the small cartridge filters you can buy in any hardware store, but now we’ve decided to actually use the full size filters; by the engineers, they should make the requirements the department of health has on us now,” Williams said.

The move will bring the current system into compliance until the new system is up and running.

“That’s what we’ll be doing, is figuring out what size micron filters we need inside of each cartridge in order to get the final water quality the health department is looking for,” he said.

Filters are rated by the size of the pores that allow certain sized materials to pass through, those pores are so small they’re measure in microns or millionths of an inch. 

The chief reason for the filtration requirement is the potential for Giardia and Cryptosporidium to get into the water system. “The only way to get rid of it (Cryptosporidium ) is to filter it out, while Giardia will be taken care of by the ultraviolet treatment,” Williams said. Ultra violet light is used to neutralize the Giardia to render it unable to make people sick.

“What actually makes you sick is when this bacteria starts growing inside of you, to make sure that people don’t get sick (UV is used) if they get past the filters, but the filters are your main defense and UV is the secondary defense,” Williams said. 

At the Jan. 5 village board meeting Mayor Jay Niles told the board he had not heard from the health department regarding the pilot study filtration plan design approval. 

“Once that’s approved we can bid out that part of the equipment,” Williams said. Following the approval, the DPW will be able to build an addition onto the current water treatment building and install the filter system.&
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All parts of the pilot study, will be included in whatever financing the village gets for the larger project, and means the village will be able to receive reimbursement for the $50,000 to $60,000 they will have to spend ‘out of pocket’ from the water department savings. 

The village plans to secure funding from the EFC or Environmental Finance Committee, going through the state to borrow the funds. Williams said the finance committee also helped secure funding for the sewer treatment plant. 

Williams said the projections from the engineers for the cost of the project were done when the economy was doing better and provided a rough idea of cost at $3-$3.5 million. He said village officials hoped the national economic down turn could actually work to their advantage; with companies looking for work, bids might be extremely competitive as contractors try to give the best price to get the job. 

“The prices could come in a whole lot cheaper than anybody expects,” Williams said.

The initial cost of the project will also depend upon what village officials decide to include in the initial work list. 

That estimate also includes upgrades to the water distribution system, he said.

“That entire cost is not just for a new pump house, there’s a lot of work that we’re looking at doing,” he said. “There is a lot of other work that needs to be done.” 

Williams said water distribution problems include low pressure at the end of Mettowee Street, a section of water system pipe that runs in the river and just plain old pipes. 

“We could easily cut that in half if we had to,” he said. 

Williams said he thought it was way too early, however, to predict whether the project would result in a water rate increase in the village. Thinking in terms of a ‘worst case scenario’ he said $50 per year. Should the project only cost $1 million, he said a $5 increase seemed more likely but emphasized any numbers at this point were pure guess work.

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