Tuscumbia Water Treatment Plant and Supply Improvements

Tuscumbia Water Treatment Plant and Supply Improvements

The Big Spring Water Treatment Plant in Tuscumbia is Alabama’s first water utility to use a series membrane process train. Opened in 2012, the nationally-recognized project included a “green field” water treatment facility in an historic downtown area of the city. The facility represents the best available technology for water treatment, and will be an example of engineering excellence for years to come.

Planning for the new treatment facility began in 2008 with multiple options considered in the evaluation of the city’s treatment challenges. The city selected a unique and viable solution developed by engineers at Garver, a multidisciplined engineering, planning, and environmental services firm committed to quality practices, progressive methods and honorable relationships.

Since the Tuscumbia water treatment plant is located within an historic park, it was important the treatment facility’s aesthetics blend in with the surroundings. Garver used building information modeling (BIM) to provide rapid prototyping and realistic 3-D renderings to enhance design and aid in public communications and awareness. Garver created 3-D renderings that revealed how the facility’s exterior and interior might look with certain windows and brick work. Using BIM proved beneficial in visualizing a structure that fit within the confined site overlooking the park. For this work, Garver was awarded Grand Conceptor by the Alabama ACEC and was a national finalist for innovative design.

The state-of-the art filtration technology is the centerpiece of the new 4 million gallons-per-day (MGD) water treatment plant. That doubled treatment capacity for the city, and the plant has the ability for a future expansion of 6 MGD.

The system is purifying and softening the city’s water. The series membrane process, consisting of ultrafiltration followed by slip-stream nanofiltration, meets all filtration requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act and reduces the raw water hardness to the tart of 100 mg/L. Opting for nanofiltration instead of reverse osmosis saved more than $2 million in costs.

Along with the use of series ultrafiltration and nanofiltration processes with the post-filtration blending for softening, the new facility includes expanded raw water intake, new raw water transmission main; new processes for aeration, rapid mix, flocculation and sedimentation; new pre and post-chemical feed and storage systems; new poured-in-place concrete finished water storage basin and pumping facilities; a plant-wide SCADA system to allow operators to control the plant from the control room; and electrical upgrades that include a 75 kW power generator as backup power. Also, radio telemetry was installed at each of the water tanks to allow operators to view the water distribution system in real time and adjust high service pumping accordingly.

Garver’s services on the project included permitting, land/easement acquisition, conceptual design, detailed design and construction administration.