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Nearly 150 Tour New Water Treatment Plant

Neil Callahan of R.H. White Construction Co. (left) shows Bill Sanborn (second from right) how the SCADA computer-controlled systems run the new water treatment plant processes.

Nearly 150 people took the Milford Water Company up on its invitation to tour the privately owned utility's new water treatment plant at a four-hour long open house held on October 26 at the company's Dilla Street campus.

"I found it very interesting and informative. The technology is incredible," said attorney Warren Heller after completing the tour. "It's impressive," added Sal Roque, who praised the cleanliness of the water leaving the plant and going into the utility's distribution system. "It's very good," commented Bill Sanborn. "It's good to see our dollars at work."

Regarding comments people made after completing the tour, "A majority have been positive," Manager David Condrey said. Most critical comments concerned the levels of chlorine people smell in their water, he said, but noted, "We are putting in half what we put in with the old plant. People will start to notice it less" as the "residual" levels of chlorine in the water mains "balances out," Condrey said.

Neil Callahan, the project manager for R.H. White Construction Company during the plant's construction, was one of the people leading customers on a tour through the new treatment plant – stopping at each process step to explain what was happening to the water. "The process is doing better than it was designed to do," he commented.

While the old treatment method actually consumed water, the new plant reuses between 90 percent and 97 percent of all the water it uses, Callahan explained. The treatment plant was designed to have a 60-year life, he said.

Formerly, the water company used slow sand filters – constructed in the early 1900s – and diatomaceous earth – used since the early 1980s – to filter impurities out of its water supplies. The new treatment plant uses dissolved air flotation (DAF) to float impurities to the top of a filter tank, where they are removed. After that, the filtered water goes through granulated activated carbon (GAF) filters and then out to chlorine contact tanks before heading out to water mains.

On the tour, Callahan pointed out the results of the DAF process – three large concrete basins where a dark brown "blanket of flock" – basically a collection of the organic materials in the water – is skimmed off by paddlewheel-like devices, resulting in crystal-clear water.

The entire water treatment process is computer-controlled by a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system and monitored 24 hours a day – either in person or by people monitoring and controlling the system remotely via secure laptops, iPads or smart cellular phones, Callahan said. "There are over 300 alarms in the plant. Everything is tracked," he said.

Condrey noted that he often checks the status of the treatment plant from his cell phone when he is away from his office.

Manager David Condrey shows a diagram of how the new water treatment processes work.

Milford Water Now in Bottles

Facts About the Milford Water Company

• The Milford Water Company was founded in 1881.

• At that time, there was one pump station, which produced about 1.5 million gallons per day into a system that was about 10.5 miles long with 325 service connections and 80 hydrants.

• Today, the distribution system has about 125 miles of water pipes, 8,646 service connections and 869 hydrants. The Dilla Street pumping station has three pumps that can each deliver 2,000 gallons per minute.

• The utility pumps an average of 2.3 million to 2.5 million gallons of water each day.

• The average Milford household uses 48 gallons of water per person each day.

• The Echo Lake reservoir, developed in 1882, holds 634 million gallons when full.

• There are three storage tanks: Congress St., built in 1920, holds 1.1 million gallons; Highland St., built in 1964, holds 271,000 gallons; and, Bear Hill, built in 1991, holds 2.2 million gallons.

• A dripping faucet or fixture can waste three gallons a day.

• 100 cubic feet of water equals 748 gallons.

No, the Milford Water Company isn't going to take on the bottled water giants. Manager David Condrey said the utility is making small batches of bottled water – direct from its new treatment plant – to hand out at local road races and community events. People who toured

the plant on October 26 each

received two bottles in a Milford Water Company tote bag.


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