Having had a tour of Aberdeen’s Waste Water Treatment Plant, I wanted to know how the water that we drink, bathe in and, yes, flush our toilets with, arrives at our homes.
The guided tour was hosted again by Aberdeen Department of Public Works Director Matt Lapinsky and Water/Waste Water Division Superintendent Paul Visser.
Located just off Post Road in Aberdeen and adjoining the Amtrak railroad tracks, Aberdeen’s water treatment plant is housed in a large brick building built and dedicated in 1979. The bronze plaque affixed to the building lists the names of elected town officials of the era.
The homes and businesses of Aberdeen use approximately 1.5 million gallons of water per day. The city’s 14 wells provide all but approximately 350,000 gallons of that water. The balance is supplied by Harford County.
Ten of the 14 wells are located on the property adjacent to the water plant. The remaining four wells are located on Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Prior to 1953, Aberdeen's water was treated at a location near Plater Street and consisted of just three wells.
The current wells are approximately 25 to 65 feet deep and produce very good quality water.
As good as this water is straight from the ground, treatment is still required to ensure the water is always safe for consumption.
Fluoride is introduced into the water to inhibit tooth decay. Chlorine maintains disinfection throughout the distribution system.
Soda ash is used to achieve the proper pH in order to “soften” the water and a product called Aqua Mag is used to inhibit corrosion in the distribution system.
The production from Aberdeen’s 14 wells is processed at the treatment plant and fills the clear well, which lies beneath the plant. The clear well acts as a 100,000-gallon reservoir that is constantly being replenished before the water is sent out through the distribution system.
Water from Harford County is pumped directly into the city distribution system via two interconnections with the county system.
Upon walking into the plant, I was surprised how modern the facility was. Three brand new, 100-hp, “slow start” motors sit atop the clear well. These pumps rev up slowly, thereby increasing the life of the pump and pump parts and to save energy.
The four chemicals used to treat the water are housed in separate rooms.
The city's monitoring is evident with a wall of equipment and a room where samples are tested throughout the day and night.
Over the course of several years, the city has invested $3 million to upgrade the plant. Upgrades include new highly efficient motors, well rehabilitation, improved monitoring of production and energy saving “soft starts,” new valves and piping and even better lighting and perimeter security for the plant.
So many of us take our water for granted, but getting the water to our faucets, shower heads and yes, even our toilets, requires the skill and experience of people like Visser, who is celebrating his 40th year working for the city's public works.
Paul and his dedicated cadre of men and women work day and night to ensure that our water is clean, fresh and plentiful.