McIlvaine: Thousands of municipal drinking water projects in U.S., Canada moving forward

NORTHFIELD, IL, June 19, 2009 -- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 generated more than $2 billion in stimulus funding for U.S. drinking water infrastructure projects...

NORTHFIELD, IL, June 19, 2009 -- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 generated more than $2 billion in stimulus funding for U.S. drinking water infrastructure projects. Thousands of projects have been delayed because of lack of funding. Many of these projects are now moving forward. Each project is being tracked in North American Public Water Plants and People. This online service with biweekly updates is published by the McIlvaine Company.

Canada and the U.S. have similar needs with exception of water recycling. In both countries a number of the projects are being designed to replace old plants. For example, Ames, Iowa plans a $49.5 million water treatment plant. This new 15 mgd plant will be at a new location and the existing plant will be retired. Tuscumbia Alabama has little choice but to replace its 60 year old 2.2 mgd plant with a new 4 mgd facility. San Francisco, California is spending $112 million for a new 315 mgd plant which will use ultraviolet disinfection. Rosemount, Minnesota has opted for a new $10 million plant.

The majority of the projects are for expansion of existing plants. Lake Fort Smith, Arkansas is spending $50 million for an upgrade from 30 to 40 mgd based on engineering recommendations by Burns & McDonnell. Hallandale, Florida will add 9 mgd of capacity. Inglewood, California will expand its treatment plant from 8 to 12 mgd. Hopkinsville, Kentucky will expand its Moss plant from 10 to 15 mgd.

The U.S differs from Canada in that there are a number of regions where water is scarce. Projects to treat and reuse water are often large. Castaic Lake Water in California will spend $100 million to treat effluent water for outdoor use, but Canada is treating brackish water. The City of Winkler is installing an RO system to treat brackish water.

A number of smaller projects involve improving the performance of the plant. Some of the typical investments include replacement of sand filters with membrane filter systems. Upgrading instrumentation and controls is also popular. Peoria, Arizona is installing fiber optics. Deer Valley, Arizona is investing in process optimization. North Miami, Florida is upgrading a lime softening water treatment system. Buhl, Idaho will install a treatment system to remove arsenic. New clarifiers will be installed in Canton, Illinois. Louisville, Kentucky will comply with 2012 drinking water regulations by rehabilitating softening basins at Crescent Hill.

New York provides the biggest example of a performance upgrade. To meet the new requirements for 99 percent removal of bacteria, New York City is spending $2.8 billion spread over 10 separate contracts. Previously unfiltered water from the Croton watershed will be filtered and disinfected. The plant will treat 290 mgd.

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