New Castle to add capacity to water treatment plant |

New Castle to add capacity to water treatment plant

Suzie C. Romig
Special to the Post Independent

Production at the New Castle water plant has returned to near capacity after operators struggled with processing problems in June.

Town officials plan to install an additional filter this fall to increase output by 40 percent.

Heavy spring rains and sediment runoff from the 2002 Spring Creek Fire overloaded the plant for 10 days in early June.

“The Spring Creek Fire last summer didn’t burn all the vegetation around the creek, which helps during typical rainstorms, but the slopes above the creek were burned,” said Steve Rippy, town administrator. The fire came within eight feet of the East Elk Creek streambed, he said.

In June, water plant output dropped 65 to 70 percent below normal just as the outside lawn irrigation season started. Town water use typically hits 1 million gallons a day during dry summer months.

Supervisors kept constant watch at the water plant and switched the products normally used to filter the water in order to handle the increased turbidity.

“Once the chemicals were changed, all of a sudden the water production shot back up,” Rippy said.

Town officials say a new $180,000 conventional sand filter will be added that can process an additional 350 gallons per minute. Currently, the plant processes some 850 gallons per minute, or up to 1.2 million gallons per day at maximum capacity.

Town officials also found a malfunctioning water tank meter and a pressure-reducing valve that required replacement, boosting supplies.

New Castle currently has three computer-monitored water tanks for processed water, which can hold a total of 2.2 million gallons.

New Castle officials urge all citizens to continue to conserve water inside and, especially, outside the home.

The watering restrictions do not apply to washing cars, watering potted plants or children’s water toys actively in use. Fines for repeat violators range from $25 to $200 or disconnection from the water system.

Exceptions for new landscaping are available via a permit from Town Hall.

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