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New technology at treatment plant at the heart of $2.4 million water plant upgrade

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Officials hope the inclusion of two new processes at the Rome water treatment plant will improve the quality and longevity of the city’s water system.

An upgraded rapid-mix system has come online at the Bruce Hamler Water Treatment Facility on Blossom Hill in the last three weeks, along with a carbon dioxide feed system.

“This is something we’re doing to prolong the life of our water system,” Rome Water and Sewer Division Assistant Director Mike Hackett said.

The $2.4 million construction project is set to be completed by the end of the month, according to facility director Wayne Stanley.

Members of the city’s water and sewer committee were given a tour of the 75-year-old facility Monday, along with a look at the new systems and how they are monitored.

The carbon dioxide system pumps the gas in with the water when it runs through the pipes, in order to bring down the oxygen level and prevent excessive corrosion in the system.

“We’re the first in Georgia to give this a try,” Ross said. “According to our engineers, it is going to help us in the long run.”

The purchase of carbon dioxide will add approximately $80,000 a year to the treatment costs for the plant, but will create better quality water and help keep repair costs down, according to Ross.

“It’s like adding a medical treatment that goes all through the body,” Ross said. “This will make our system run smoother and allow us to save on pumping costs.”

Hackett said the carbon dioxide system is not mandated by the state.

Meanwhile, the rapid-mix, or flash-mix, system works to thoroughly mix the water with the required chemicals to evenly distribute them through the supply.

“It was a difference between 1939 technology and 2014 technology,” division director Leigh Ross said.

The basis of the new system is housed in a newly constructed concrete structure and contains modern pipes and fittings.

With a capacity to treat 18 million gallons of water a day, the facility pulls water from both the Etowah and Oostanaula Rivers and treated through different methods before pumped into a tank to be distributed.

“That really makes a difference,” Ross said. “Most surface water systems like ours pull water into a reservoir and let it sit before it is filtered and treated.”

In other business, Ross told the committee that the replacement of around 4,500 water meters because of a faulty part has been completed.

A contractor changed out the meters that were part of a batch that the manufacturer determined could possibly stop working.

The discovery led officials to replace the potentially defective devices with more accurate meters for nearly $261,000.