The Stuart Water Treatment Plant (WTP) was upgraded in 2004 and has been producing excellent quality water since that upgrade. The Virginia Department of Health (Office of Drinking Water) has awarded the Stuart WTP with Water Quality awards every year since the awards were available. Those awards were possible because our water is pristine as it flows out of the mountains and has little or no industry or pollution sources to contaminate it before it reaches Stuart.
Water from the South Mayo River is pumped to the WTP and into the clarifiers. Raw water enters the clarifier in the center down tube and is chemically treated to remove dirt and bacteria. The chemicals are mixed with the water by a motorized mixer. The water flows downward in the center tube to the bottom of the clarifiers until the treated water exits the center tube and then flows upward where the dirt and chemicals chemically combine to create a “floc” that becomes heavier than water and remains near the bottom of the clarifiers. The clarified water then flows over weirs at the outer perimeter of each clarifier, that significantly cleaner water is then piped to the filters where any remaining dirt is removed. Once the water is filtered the turbidity (measure of contaminates in the water) is normally well below 0.10 NTU which is below what VDH considers “optimized”. Once the filtered water leaves the filters and enters the clearwell additional chlorine is added to the water to ensure any residual bacteria is eliminated (this is required by VDH). Fluoride is also added to promote dental health.
The water from the clearwell is then pumped into our water storage tanks. Once filled, the water storage tanks can feed treated drinking water to every household including Patrick Springs by gravity. Based on current usage (December 2013) our water storage tanks can supply water for three full days before needing to be refilled, however, we top off the tanks every day. In the event of a power outage we will have water to use as long as we regain power within three days. The town has access to a generator if AEP does not get there first.
The Town also has two supplemental wells that are capable of pumping 50 gpm (gallons per minute) each for a total of 100 gpm. The well water in Patrick County tends to be very acidic so the water must be pH adjusted in order to make it non-corrosive. Corrosive well water causes metals from natural deposits in the ground or metals from pipes and fixtures to dissolve into the drinking water, high levels of some metals can be a health concern as well as the integrity of the metal pipes in the Town or your house. The pH of the water that is delivered from the Water Treatment Plant is usually 7.0 to 7.5 which is considered to be “neutral” or non-corrosive. The well water is also treated with a small dose of chlorine to ensure the water is free of bacteria and safe to drink.
Raw water enters the clarifier in the center down tube and is chemically treated to remove dirt and bacteria. The chemicals are mixed with the water by motorized mixer. The water flows downward in the center tube to the bottom of the clarifier until the treated water exits the center tube and remains near the bottom of the clarifier. The cleaner water then flows over weirs at the outer perimeter of the clarifier, that significantly cleaner water goes to the filters where any remaining dirt is removed. The clarifiers are approxamately 15 feet deep.
Once the water leaves the clarifiers the “applied” water enters the filters where any remaining dirt or “floc” that may have passed through the clarifier weirs will be removed.
This is a filter control panel for one of the four filters at the Water Treatment Plant.
Here you can see the weirs at the outer perimeter of the clarifiers. The treated and cleaned water enters the weirs before entering the filters. Here you see the upper 6 feet of the clarifiers, the rest is below grade.
Some of the chemicals to keep the water safe to drink include chlorine to kill bactiria, pH adjustment to keep metal pipes from corroding (and entering your drinking water), and chemicals to bind to dirt particles to create a “floc”.
Here is a picture of our no frills building to house our water treatment system. The old abandoned sedimentation basins can be seen at the rear of the building in this picture. They were replaced by the up-flow clarifiers.
Chemical feed area of the Plant.
Operators must continually take water samples throughout the process to ensure that the water treatment system is operating properly and as required by VDH.
Here is a shot of the mechanical mixer that mixes the raw water with the inital set of chemicals.
The water entering the filters in Stuart is incredibly clean even before it is filtered.