The Berea Municipal Utilities Water Treatment Plant was constructed in 1990 and upgraded in 2010. Designed to treat a maximum of 6 million gallons of water per day, the plant treats around 3.1 million gallons daily on a 14-hour runtime.
The first step in the treatment process is coagulation. During this step, raw water is dosed with aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH) to bind and separate any organics in the water. When the negative charge of the ACH binds with the organics’ positive charge, floc particles form. These floc particles are removed in the DAF, which is the next step in the treatment process.
DAF is the acronym for dissolved air flotation. During this process, compressed saturated air is added to the basin, giving the floc particles the buoyancy they need to float to the top and over a weir to two lagoons for future disposal via landfarming irrigation. After the DAF, treated water continues downstream for filtration.
The water plant has five mixed media conventional filters. The media consists of 12 inches of anthracite coal, 18 inches of sand, and 3 inches of gravel. The water enters each filter simultaneously as pre-chlorine is injected to start the disinfection process. The filters separate the remaining floc, or sediment, from the water.
After the filters, post-chlorine is added, and the water leaves the treatment plant to the first one-hundred-thousand-gallon serpentine clear-well. Here, phosphate is added as a corrosion inhibitor, and fluoride is added for dental health. Water then moves to the second one-hundred-thousand-gallon clear-well. It takes the source water about 45 minutes to go through the treatment process.
Water is pumped from the clear-wells to a 3 million gallon ground storage tank via three 200-horsepower high-service pumps that operate on a lead-lag system. Water gravity flows from the ground storage tank throughout BMU’s water system infrastructure, which includes 452,410 feet (86 miles) of water line and 359 hydrants. Water from the ground storage tank also fills the five-hundred-thousand-gallon storage tank on the west end of town. The elevation of each respective tank dictates the system’s water pressure, and pumping is not required. The water treatment plant produces water for 9,693 BMU customers and 12,641 Southern Madison Water District customers, serving 22,334 customers across southern Madison County.
The water treatment plant staff consists of 3 Class IVA Water Treatment Plant Operators. Staff oversee the day-to-day process and make necessary adjustments for optimal treatment, perform preventative maintenance to the equipment, run laboratory analysis, and maintain the grounds around the plant.