Water board updates facility

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Several pieces of equipment at the Selma Water Works and Sewer Board water treatment plant are about 120-years-old. According to Ray Hogg, it’s time for an upgrade.

A $1.3 million contract to replace portions of the plant’s facilities is due to begin any day, according to Marvin Melton, water board member. Hogg, an engineering consultant with the water board, said items slated for replacement include the plant’s filter under drain and backwash systems as well as the filter media and piping and filter battery.

Work on the plant is expected to finish in eight months.

Hogg noted that the equipment used at the plant, which is located on Selma Avenue, treats water to meet Alabama Department of Environmental Management requirements. However, installing new parts will make the filtering process cheaper.

And replacing something about 120 years old never hurts.

The plant has 11 filters, four of which date back to the 1880s.

The filters remove iron and manganese.

Water is moved through a bed of sand and gravel that removes the unwanted products.

However, iron eventually builds up in the sand and the filters need cleaning, which is called &uot;backwash.&uot;

Backwash is completed by reversing the flow of the water. Iron is removed from the sand and then pumped into the sewage system.

Instead of only using water to backwash, the new filters will employ water and air.

Only one-third of the water will be used with the new filters, and Hogg said it could save the water board about $15,000 a year.

The under drain, the area where treated water is filtered, will also be replaced as will the filter media, the sand and gravel. &uot;That’s normally done about every 10 years anyway,&uot; Hogg said.

The final item slated for replacement is the piping and filter battery, which brings water into and away from the filters.

Melton said the upgrades would occur on a piecemeal basis to ensure customers continue to receive their water.

Once the upgrades are complete, the plant will be fully automated.