New water treatment plant on tap for Charlestown

New water treatment plant on tap for Charlestown
Brown water coming from taps in Charlestown has been a problem for decades, the mayor admitted. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (News and Tribune) - Indiana American Water has started design of a new water treatment facility that will enhance water quality for its Charlestown customers.

The new treatment facility, which will filter iron and manganese from the area’s groundwater source, is expected to begin construction this summer with final completion in mid-2022. The company will also be placing a mobile temporary filtration unit online in April of this year to provide some incremental improvement in water quality until the new treatment facility is in service.

“Since purchasing the Charlestown water utility in 2019, we have already invested more than $4 million in the community’s aging water infrastructure, performed much needed maintenance, and made significant process improvements to the system,” said Indiana American Water President Matt Prine. “While these improvements have helped enhance system reliability and reduce the frequency of discolored water, constructing a new water treatment filtration facility will address the long-standing high manganese levels that are present in the ground water sources in the area.

“Just as our Southern Indiana Operations and Treatment Facility in Jeffersonville addressed high iron and manganese levels when it was constructed more than two decades ago, this new facility will provide high-quality drinking water for our Charlestown customers when it is completed,” Prine said.

Design plans include adding filtration to the treatment process, improvements to pumping equipment to increase the flow of water to enhance fire protection capabilities, and switching from using gaseous chlorine to sodium hypochlorite, a much safer liquid disinfectant.

“Our community has significant growth potential in the years ahead, and a high-quality, reliable water supply is an important factor to our future success,” said Charlestown Mayor Treva Hodges. “Filtered water is the solution that we’ve been waiting for and I am excited that Indiana American Water has followed through on their commitment to address the long-standing issue of discolored water in Charlestown.”

The project is utilizing a design-build concept, bringing together construction and design professionals in a collaborative effort to enhance the finished project, more effectively control project costs, and speed up the timeline for completion.

This major water quality improvement continues Indiana American Water’s commitment to improving the Charlestown water system that started in March 2019, when it acquired the system. Recent system enhancements include adding nine automatic flushing devices to improve water quality where dead-end mains are located in the system, upgrading electrical, chemical feed, and control systems at the treatment facility, replacing or retiring more than 150 fire hydrants, and installing new backup power generating equipment that has already kept water flowing during several system power outages. The company has also invested $1.4 million to replace or relocate 1.4 miles of water mains since acquiring the Charlestown system. Charlestown customers can expect additional ongoing system investments in the years ahead.