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Garver USA

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2013 Engineering Excellence Award

Big Springs Series UF/NF Membrane WTP
The City of Tuscumbia  |  Tuscumbia, AL

The City of Tuscumbia’s Water Treatment Plant, located near a residential area and public park, was 60 years old and could not handle increased demand from the population. The water from the source spring is highly alkaline, which reduced the lifetime of the distribution system and consumer appliances.  The optimal location for a new water-softening plant was downtown near the water source. However, the site was limited, and aesthetic considerations were a priority for citizens. The project budget was also restricted, and a cost-effective method of water treatment was needed to reduce water hardness and eliminate the city’s need to buy water from neighboring communities during drought periods.  Garver met and surpassed these challenges. Engineers designed a hybrid ultrafiltration nanofiltration system that reduced operational costs by $300,000 per year and accomplished a 50-percent water hardness reduction. This blended series membrane process system is the first of its kind in Alabama. This new system also allows for easy expansion of the WTP in response to future demand, and it reduces the plant’s daily operational hours to 16 hours per day or fewer. Garver used 3-D modeling to display the proposed structures in their locations. This tool was effectively used to demonstrate the unobtrusive design, which included burying clearwells and a modern design for the main WTP structure. The visible structures are hidden from a nearby trail and merge well with the residential area when seen. Garver’s design and construction oversight ensured the aesthetic and budget requirements were met and found the perfect solution for Tuscumbia’s current and future needs.