Tryon’s $3M water plant upgrade progresses

Published 2:24 pm Monday, January 4, 2010

Upgrades to Tryons water plant are more than halfway complete and are scheduled to end April 6.

The town erected a new building recently for processing water.

The new building is one of many upgrades to the plant required because the facility, which went online in 1988, was no longer going to meet updated state regulations. The upgrades will cost approximately $3 million, which the town paid for through a state revolving loan.

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Jones says once the rehab is complete, the town will be able to utilize its mountain water source when its available as well as its current sole source, Lake Lanier. The mountain water source is the towns former water source, which the old water plant was unable to utilize. The new plant will be able to use just mountain water, Lake Lanier water or a combination of the two. The mountain source is not viable during drought or severe rain conditions, but will be used as an additional source to Lake Lanier.

The upgrades have included rehabbing the old water plant building into offices and converting the downstairs of the old building into the facility’s chemical plant. The water plant building needed an expansion, which is why the new, outdoor building was constructed.

Water plant supervisor Betty Jones says she hopes to have the new outdoor facility in use by the end of this week.

Jones said the outdoor facility basically gives the town more retention time. The building houses the flash mix and flocculation chamber. The flash mixer mixes chemicals with the water and the flocculator builds floc the chemicals cause the dirt, grit and sand to clump together.

Jones says the plant has needed more retention time and never had the luxury until now. The new structure should double the towns retention time from its current 40 minutes to about 80 minutes.

The upgrades have also included replacing eight chemical feed pumps and fixing the old water plant roof, among other items.

Jones has begun giving the town council updates on the town water plant updates during monthly meetings. By the end of November, the upgrades were about 48 percent complete. The work completed at that point included painting the filter #2 unit, installing the filter #2 drain and plate settlers, installing the new flocculation unit was 100 percent complete, installing the chemical feed pump for filter #2 startup and completing the paving on the top side of the property.