"This is a culmination of three administration's efforts to improve the quality of life for East Chicago families for generations to come," Mayor Anthony Copeland said this week as he, American Structure Point Inc., the Regional Development Authority, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky hosted a ribbon-cutting for the new state-of-the-art Water Membrane Filtration Plant and Water Tank in East Chicago.
Construction began in December 2009 at a cost of $52 million, with part of the funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the help of Visclosky and the RDA.
This project was led by American Structure Point to replace the existing plant, which had reached the end of its design life.
The city of East Chicago has always delivered excellent water quality to its residents and this commitment to a new plant will ensure that our children's children will be able to have continued access to one of earth's most valuable resources.
The plant will be ready to go online within the next month. It has the ability to provide 20 million to 30 million gallons per day. Our city uses about 6 million to 7 million gallons per day with part of our water being sold to neighboring cities.
The new pumps that supply drinking water to all customers are designed to minimize pressure fluctuations throughout the distribution system. This can be important to large users of water, especially industrial customers who rely on large quantities of water for their process.
During the past year there were more than 10 water main breaks and numerous supply line breaks throughout the city. A more constant pressure in the distribution system can result in less water main breaks.
"There is much excitement over this new facility. It is partnerships like this one that enables us to directly benefit a community," said District Engineer Colonel Fredric Drummond.
A diesel-operated engine has been installed and will engage automatically in the event of a power failure and provide 100 percent backup power.
The type of technology employed will reduce the amount of chemicals necessary to purify the water. Although East Chicago has always produced quality water from the existing filtration plant, this new filtration plant is designed to greatly exceed today's drinking water standards as well as those of tomorrow. One of the plant's design features includes a direct spout located in the lobby area, granting easy access for residents to obtain water directly from the plant.
Our city is excited about this and other projects that are reaching their completion phase in the coming weeks. East Chicago is geared for the future, and investing in clean water is an excellent start.
Steve Segura is the city of East Chicago multimedia director. The opinions expressed are his own. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.