HCWSA begins upgrades to Towaliga water plant

Working proactively to continue to meet the drinking water demands of the third fastest growing county in America, the HCWSA board of directors has approved upgrades to its Towaliga Water Production Plant.

McDonough, Ga., Nov. 6, 2003 -- Working proactively to continue to meet the drinking water demands of the third fastest growing county in America, the HCWSA board of directors has approved upgrades to its Towaliga Water Production Plant.

The Authority hopes the improved efficiency at the plant will prove beneficial when next summer's peak demands put the system's capabilities to the test.

At the present time the Towaliga Plant, which was last upgraded in 1997, is the only water production facility in Henry County. The Tussahaw Reservoir and Water Production Facility, currently in the early phases of construction, will not be operational for another two years, so the HCWSA must make due with this single water production facility until that time.

The purpose of the enhancements to the Towaliga Plant is to improve the production efficiency of the plant as it approaches capacity. Towaliga can safely handle 24 million gallons per day (mgd) of water treatment, though on a normal day the plant averages less than 20 mgd in production flow.

In addition to improving plant efficiency, the Authority needs to upgrade the Towaliga facility to maintain compliance with changing federal and state water quality standards.

When demand for water from the plant exceeds the 20 mgd flow during peak times, as in the summer months when people are watering their yards more frequently, the Towaliga facility is currently showing definite signs of strain. Usage will continue to inch toward the plant's capacity until the new Tussahaw plant comes on-line, says Lindy Farmer, General Manager of the Authority.

Currently, a 20 mgd production flow originating with raw water from the reservoir causes overflowing in the sedimentation basins on the older side of the plant, says David Whitson, Manager of Water Production for the HCWSA. Recognizing the need for improvements, Stantec Consulting, Inc. - one of the Authority's engineering companies - conducted a hydraulic study of the plant and made the recommendation to upgrade the facility accordingly. The improvements will come in three phases.

The first phase will be a replacement of the flocculators with a baffle system on the old side of the plant. Flocculators are tanks with paddles that slowly revolve and stir the raw water in order to separate particles. This will allow the plant to meet EPD minimum retention standards.

Second, the sedimentation basins will be reworked through the modification of weirs. The raising of weirs will maximize the quality of water that settles in the basins before being filtered and treated.

Finally, the plant's filters will be completely revamped. This rehabilitation process includes installing new underdrains, filter media, backwash systems, rate controllers and control consoles. This will help reduce the turbidity levels at the plant and help maintain permitted filtration rates.

Consultants and HCWSA managers say the work at Towaliga is not a patch work project to serve as a stop gap measure. Rather, these are necessary upgrades that will bring the water production plant to the forefront of conventional water treatment systems.

"We're trying to stay ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to safe drinking water production," adds Farmer. "In all, this is just one of several measures we're pursuing to help us better handle those peak flow periods that we know are coming, especially next summer."

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