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Riverbank Filtration Project Completed

Friday December 10, 2010

A World Class Innovation
Louisville Water Company Completes its Riverbank Filtration Project

Louisville Water Company marked the completion of a landmark project that will provide a new source of drinking water and announced the engineering feat has received national recognition.  The company dedicated the pumping station for the Riverbank Filtration Project at its B.E. Payne Treatment Plant in Prospect. 

The dedication marks the end of a 10-year investment that has taken place largely underground.  Riverbank Filtration uses the earth as a natural filter and provides a cleaner source of water.  The project uses a tunnel and well system to capture ground water that primarily comes from the Ohio River. The sand and gravel in the aquifer naturally purify the water. 

“This project allows Louisville Water to stay ahead of the nation’s strict drinking water standards,” said Greg Heitzman, President and CEO of Louisville Water.  “Our company has a 150 year history of advancing the science of drinking water; this project is another example of innovation that will benefit our customers for years to come.” 

World Class Innovation
The project is unique because Louisville Water is the first water utility in the world to combine a gravity tunnel with wells as a source for drinking water.

Louisville Water designed and constructed a mile-and-half-long tunnel in bedrock, 150 feet below the ground surface. The tunnel is parallel to the Ohio River at the company’s B.E. Payne Treatment Plant. Four wells were sunk to collect the ground water and send to the tunnel.  A pump station pulls the water from the tunnel and into the treatment plant.  Louisville Water can pump up to 70 million gallons of water a day from the aquifer.

Louisville Water began Riverbank Filtration in 1999 with a 15 million gallon per day test well. Extensive water quality research and testing occurred over the first several years of its operation to verify the water quality and the replenishment of the water table.  Based on the success, Louisville Water expanded the project to include four additional wells, a tunnel and pump station.  The tunnel minimizes the above-ground impact.  The wells are capped at the ground and only the pump station at the B.E. Payne Plant is visible above-ground.

A Green Supply
There are several advantages to Riverbank Filtration.  Because the water is cleaner, it requires less treatment.  The process eliminates taste and odor issues, provides an additional barrier for pathogen removal and creates a stable water temperature of around 55-degrees, resulting in fewer main breaks in the distribution system. 

Design and Construction
Construction began in March 2007 and was complete in the fall of 2010.  The $55 million dollar investment was funded through Louisville Water’s capital budget. Jordan Jones & Goulding provided engineering and design.  Mole Constructors, Inc. was awarded the bid for construction of the tunnel and pump station. 

National Recognition
The Riverbank Filtration project is an engineering feat. The American Society of Civil Engineers has honored Louisville Water as a finalist for the “Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award.”   Other finalists include the new Dallas Cowboy’s stadium, the Incheon Bridge Project in Korea, a reservoir project in Missouri and the Washington Dulles Airport Terminal. The winner will be announced in March.

Exceeding the Standards
Riverbank Filtration is an advanced treatment for drinking water. Currently, Louisville Water is renovating its Crescent Hill Filtration Plant to exceed new drinking water regulations that take effect in 2012.  As the science of drinking water advances, Louisville Water will look to add ozone as an advanced treatment at its Crescent Hill Plant by 2014 and may consider Riverbank Filtration around 2020.