Lewes welcomes new potable water treatment plant

Darrin Gordon, Lewes Board of Public Works general manager, explains how the board's new drinking water treatment plant does its job. Precise quantities of lime, chlorine and fluoride are added to water at the facility before it is pumped into the distribution system. BY STEVEN BILLUPS
October 29, 2013

A new Lewes facility is treating the city’s drinking water and has significantly improved the Board of Public Works’ system reliability.

The BPW celebrated the new plant Oct. 19 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Wellfield Lane facility.

Construction of the $1.3 million plant became a priority after the June 2011 failure of several components at the BPW’s aging Schley Avenue plant caused a brief system-wide water outage.

The new plant, located adjacent to the board’s well field near Cape Henlopen High School, has reserve pumping capacity, new water-pressure sensors, and a new automated telephone system that calls a plant operator if a problem arises.

The system also monitors the city’s water-tank level and notifies technicians if it drops too low.

The facility uses the same water-treatment process as the old plant - water pH is adjusted with lime to reduce acidity, chlorine is added as a disinfectant and fluoride is added to help prevent tooth decay - as required by the state, said Darrin Gordon, Lewes Board of Public Works executive director.

Lewes’ award-winning drinking water quality and water pressure throughout the city will continue to be outstanding, Gordon said.

Bearing Construction Co. of Sudlersville, Md., built the facility, which is capable of treating up to 2.88 million gallons per day, slightly more than the old system’s capacity.

Lewes’ peak water usage, 1.6 million gallons per day, occurs during summer. Based on growth projections for the area, the new plant will provide adequate capacity for approximately 25 years, Gordon said.







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