Lake Station's new water plant will filter out problems

2012-12-02T00:00:00Z 2013-01-28T08:35:05Z Lake Station's new water plant will filter out problemsBy Keith Soderquist Lake Station Mayor nwitimes.com
December 02, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Indiana recently approved an $11 million Indiana Drinking Water State Revolving Fund low-interest loan to Lake Station in 2013 to improve the city's aging water distribution system, including the addition of the new 2 million-gallon-per-day drinking water treatment plant, which the City Council approved in April.

It's a huge win for us.

Over the years, the city's water department has struggled with declining capacity, inadequate water storage, and water loss and water quality issues.

In 2008, Lake Station hired American Structurepoint, based in Indianapolis and South Bend, to evaluate its existing water distribution system. Kara Boyles, project manager for American Structurepoint, and her team studied the city's water system, parts of which date back to the early 1950s, and identified the necessary improvements that would enable the city to expand capacity, make major infrastructure improvements and improve its water quality.

By conducting test drilling and performing hydraulic modeling to prioritize Lake Station's next 20 years of capital improvements, the city and American Structurepoint were able to prioritize projects critical to the long-term operation of the Lake Station Water Department.

Part of the state loan will enable the city to begin a water recovery program that will allow its water department to replace water meters throughout its entire distribution system, analyze and investigate leaks in the system and conduct a water loss audit.

The 2012 water improvements will include the construction of the drinking water treatment plant, five new groundwater supply wells, a new 500,000-gallon elevated storage tank, replacement of the booster station at the existing 1.5 million-gallon storage tank, installation of 16,000 feet of critical water distribution mains with larger diameter water mains, and the implementation of a water recovery program.

In addition, the city will establish a fully automated supervisory control and data acquisition system, which will transform the existing water distribution system from a manual operation to a fully automated system.

"The drinking water treatment plant will be installed within a 5,300-square foot building located on Union Street, on property currently owned by the city," Boyles said. "It will be equipped with a backwash recycle facility to recover spent backwash water and eliminate the need to discharge it to the city sanitary sewer system.

"Items such as this are consider green initiatives by (the state revolving fund) and give the city a credit toward interest rate reductions for the SRF loan," Boyles continued. "Additional green components include premium efficiency pump motors with variable frequency drives. VFDs enable pumps to accommodate fluctuating demands, running pumps at lower speeds and drawing less energy, while still meeting the pumping needs."

The drinking water treatment plant is expected to be constructed as two separate phases with two separate contracts to be bid out using the required state and federal bidding requirements -- one last month and the other in January.

Phase I improvements will include the new water supply wells, new groundwater treatment plant and water main improvements. Phase II will include storage tank improvements and additional water main improvements.

The drinking water treatment plant is expected to be in full operation in 2014.

Keith Soderquist is Lake Station's mayor. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.

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