By Martin J. Kidston
by Martin J. Kidston
The Havre Daily News
Friday, May 7
Unseen by the eye, Havres water treatment plant is in a state of despair, and the latest figures say it will cost over $5 million to bring the antiquated system under current standards of efficiency, quality and output.
Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Shelly Nolan said the current plant was built in 1951. It was originally designed for an output of only three million gallons per day. In 1974, due to demand and population growth, the facility was upgraded again to four million gallons per day. In 1986, it was refurbished to meet modern safety standards.
But nearly 50 years of upgrades and repairs have taken their toll, and with the plant in slow decay, and with its output capacity dropping off rapidly, Nolan said its just a matter of time before it meets a timely end.
Because the end is near, the Havre City Council voted to go ahead with an extensive upgrade that will bring the plant into current EPA standards while placing the facility 20 years ahead of the projected population growth.
Well actually be ending up with a whole new treatment plant," Nolan said. Its going be something the community can be proud of.
According to Nolan, the new plant will receive new filters, new sedimentation and flocculation trains, a new raw water line and pump station, a new chemical feed and new tube settlements, among other things.
The existing primary sedimentation basin will be converted to a backwash waste water equalization basin, Nolan explained. Right now, our backwater goes right back into our well, and all that concentrated sediment and bacteria has to be cleaned out. The EPA is coming out with stricter requirements that wont allow us to do that anymore.
Nolan said the new plant will also include a lab, a control room, two new offices and a womans restroom.
We dont have any of those right now, she said. We all work out of one cramped office, and we use a common restroom.
Nolan said the new plant would carry an output capacity of 6 million gallons per day, which would satisfy city growth for the next 20 years.
During the construction process, there may be times we have to go on wells, Nolan said. But the finished water quality should be better than what we have now. Well be able to treat it more efficiently.
The new plant will cost $5.9 million. The city borrowed $6.9 million from the Department of Natural Resources to cover the project. The funding is on a 20 year loan due back at four percent interest. Water rates will increase across the city by 15 percent, generating revenue to pay back the bond.
Were not set up to treat the water we receive, Nolan said. I think the money is being well spent. Well have better quality, more quantity and redundancy.