In May, the divison sent a notice to all customers that its drinking water has exceeded the permitted level of trihalomethanes, which are formed as a result of chlorination of organic matter present naturally in raw water supplies.
The focus of the upgraded treatment process is a new clarification process called Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF), which removes naturally occurring matter from the city’s reservoir system, prior to filtration. Other upgrades at the water treatment plant include new chemical feed systems, new SCADA and control systems, and other building and architectural improvements.
The water quality produced by the new DAF clarifiers has met and exceeded anticipated expectations. The new treatment and monitoring systems will provide more robust, reliable, and stable operating conditions for the water treatment plant operators. The prior clarification process was taken off-line and is now out of service.
The Station No. 1 Water Treatment Plant was originally designed to treat nine million gallons of water each day; however, due to age-related degeneration and seasonal operational challenges, it was only able to reliably treat six million gallons per day. The Phase 1 upgrades have restored the treatment capacity back to 9 million gallons per day.
Construction work will continue at the Station No. 1 Water Treatment Plant to allow additional treatment, pumping, architectural, and building improvements to be completed.
In January 2012, the Newport City Council awarded a Design Build contract valued at $67 million for the water treatment plant improvements to the joint venture of AECOM and C.H. Nickerson & Co. Assisting in the oversight of the project as the City’s Advisor is the engineering firm CDM Smith, Inc. The project includes the design and construction of a new Lawton Valley Water Treatment Plant, as well as the improvements to the Station No. 1 Water Treatment Plant.
The upgrades at both facilities will incorporate an advanced water treatment process using granular activated carbon contactors, which will remove organics from the water as well as improve the aesthetic quality in terms of taste and odor. Once completed, the Newport water treatment plants will be the only facilities in Rhode Island to have advanced treatment. All improvements at the treatment facilities are scheduled to be completed and in service by December 31, 2014.
The Lawton Valley and Station No. 1 Water Treatment Plants provide drinking water to Newport Water Division’s 14,500 retail customers in Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth, as well as the wholesale customers at Naval Station Newport and the Portsmouth Water and Fire District. Both Water Treatment Plants remain in operation while construction and renovations at both sites are ongoing.