Decatur WTP Water Treatability Crisis
Decatur Utilities, AL

Decatur Utilities owns and operates a 68-mgd conventional surface water treatment plant that uses raw water from the Tennessee River.  In 2011, following an extreme rain event and extremely cold air temperature, the Decatur WTP recorded elevated raw water turbidities as high as 68 ntu (nephelometric turbidity units) and a significant drop in water temperature.  The WTP soon lost its filtering capabilities and ceased pumping finished potable water into its distribution.

Decatur contacted Constantine to provide emergency services to help determine the cause and fix for the treatability issues.  Constantine reviewed the water quality data, set up expedited jar test procedures, and managed the water plant crisis.  With Constantine’s assistance, Decatur was able to resolve the treatment problem within 24 hours and resumed water distribution the next morning, which required approximately 12 hours to re-fill the water storage tanks before system pressure was restored.

Immediately following the crisis event, the Board of Directors for Decatur Utilities commissioned Constantine to perform a comprehensive study to review the cause of the treatability problems and also to determine if the management staff at Decatur Utilities properly communicated during the crisis. The comprehensive study was completed over 3 months and the findings were implemented to developed specific treatment protocols that have successfully further crises.

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