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Arsenic treatment plant meets new EPA drinking water standards

Nevada Appeal Staff Report

The Carson City Public Works Department will offer the Carson City Board of Supervisors and the Carson Water Subconservancy District a tour Wednesday of its new arsenic water treatment plant at the corner of East Fifth Street and Saliman Road.

The structure, which had been used by the city since it was built in the 1960s, was recently renovated to contain the equipment to treat arsenic-laden water.

Due to new Environmental Protection Agency water quality standards requiring that there be only10 parts per billion of arsenic in drinking water, the city had to upgrade its water treatment procedures. The previous standard required that there be no more than 50 ppb.

City officials say the new treatment plant lets Carson City reduce the arsenic level from two of its wells to below the newly mandated arsenic standard.

Carson City Public Works Project Manager Mark Brethauer initially determined that the existing structure would be suitable for the treatment plant due to its size and proximity to the affected wells, officials said. He then led a team of consultants through the design and construction process of the new facility.

Using the existing structure for the plant saved Carson City an estimated $800,000, which would otherwise have been spent on land and construction of a new building.

The renovation work also included architectural and structural upgrades to the existing building including new doors, windows and an insulated siding system. Total cost of the new treatment plant, including engineering and pipeline costs, was about $4 million.

One of the key features of the new treatment plant, Brethauer said, is its high-level automation, which allows city staff to operate and monitor the plant remotely. The automation also allows operation based on demand, which reduces energy consumption.

Ken Arnold, deputy public works director, said the new plant supplies additional water resources that Carson City needs to meet projected future demands.