In recent reports there have been claims of 63 million people who have been exposed to unsafe and contaminated drinking water. That 63 million people is nearly a fifth of the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have found the causes of this unsafe drinking water is due to industrial dumping, farming pollution, and water plant and distribution pipe deterioration.
Local water treatment plants are where communities get their water. A water treatment plant is where all the magic happens for our communities to get access to clean and safe drinking and usable water in their homes. Only issue is, sometimes that doesn’t always happen.
Water treatment plants that are placed in small, poor, and minority communities can’t afford the equipment necessary to filter out contaminants. These contaminants can be fecal matter from farming, nitrates, chemicals from factories and arsenic found in rocks naturally. Even across the country at some of these plants, they are having trouble replacing their aging distribution pipes that contain lead in them. These distribution pipes are a key factor to these plants because all the water goes through these pipes to get to the filtering system.
Across the country in big or little cities, water treatment plants have been violating EPA standards. They have not been keeping up with the standards and at times lying on their sheets. A water treatment plant located in Ashtabula, Ohio right on Lake Erie though puts their company standards above the EPA.
Aqua, a private water service company, has been providing quality water and wastewater services to cities and towns across the U.S for more than 130 years. They operate and own over 1,400 public water systems and 187 wastewater treatment plants that serve approximately three million people across eight states. Aqua has multiply treatment plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Since the year it all started, which was 1886, Aqua has been improving its infrastructure and supply. They will build reservoirs and treatment plants to service a growing community, or replace pipes to strength aging systems just to make sure the communities they serve are getting the correct services and drinking water.
Aqua Ohio in Ashtabula, Ohio has been serving the cities of Ashtabula and Jefferson for many years now with drinking water and services. This water company draws its water from the surface of Lake Erie. Since it is surface water, the water is considered to be prone to contamination. Aqua has a process of how they get the surface water from Lake Erie to drinking and usable water out of your taps.
The Filtration Process:
Water from Lake Erie comes into the intake with the help of a low service pump.
From low service pump, water is injected with pre- chloride and alum
Water leaves low service pump, goes into the Floc Basin to mix the chemicals
Leaves Floc Basin to Sedimentation Basin
Leaves Sedimentation Basin to the filters
When water travels from filters to clear wells, the final chemicals are added (Chloride and Fluoride)
From the clear well, with help of high service pumps, water is pushed into the distribution system
After this whole process is finished, Aqua in Ashtabula distributes an average of five to six million gallons a day to their communities. The bigger city just 35 miles away in Mentor averages 10 to 12 million gallons a day to their communities. Millions of gallons of water used daily come from Lake Erie and are filtered through this process with all the Aqua companies located along the lake.
So next time you take a drink of water, just remember the type of process it had to go through to go from dirty lake water to drinkable water out of your tap.