Efficiencies at water treatment plant buy time for permanent planOfficials at the Jamestown water treatment plant are now breathing easier as they deal with problems resulting from waste water at the plant. Recent changes in plant operations have reduced flows of water used to clear filters and water softening equipment that had been flowing into storage lagoons or ponds.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Officials at the Jamestown water treatment plant are now breathing easier as they deal with problems resulting from waste water at the plant. Recent changes in plant operations have reduced flows of water used to clear filters and water softening equipment that had been flowing into storage lagoons or ponds.
“We’ve bought ourselves until early to mid-April before we fill those lagoons,” said Reed Schwartzkopf, city engineer. “It is taking some re-plumbing and some temporary fixes and making something do what it was never designed to do.”
The Jamestown water treatment plant previously pumped water used to “back flush” or clear filters and water softening equipment into lagoons or ponds near the treatment plant. Lime and other materials in the water were allowed to settle to the bottom of the ponds before the water was pumped back into the water treatment plant and processed.
In October, the North Dakota Department of Health ruled that bringing water that had been stored in an outdoor pond into the treatment facility was against water treatment standards. The Health Department ordered the water treatment plant to stop recycling water from the ponds through the treatment plant. Because of that, it was feared the ponds would overflow by late December.
Because of the amount of lime in the water it cannot be allowed to overflow or be discharged directly into a stream.
“We put some new filters in place that reduce the amount of back flushing required so that has reduced the amount of water going into the lagoons,” Schwartzkopf said.
The staff at the water treatment plant is also in the process of making some modifications to store some of the back flush water in the treatment plant and then feed it into the water system.
“That involves tanks and pipes and pumps,” he said. “It is not as simple as running a hose from the outlet that would take water to the lagoons to the inlet for the water treatment plant.”
Schwartzkopf referred to the system as “jerry-rigged” but said it would further reduce the amount of water going into the holding lagoons.
“We’re feeling a lot more comfortable,” he said. “We’re doing a lot of engineering now to monitor the lagoon system.”
Even with these measures the lagoons will fill sometime this spring. By then, Schwartzkopf plans to have a long-term solution in place.
“There is still the possibility of enclosed tanks and pumps for the long-term solution,” he said. “There is still the possibility of running the water into the waste water system but now we have a few months rather than a few weeks to find the answers.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org