Through our relations with the City of Ames in our watershed work, Prairie Rivers of Iowa board and staff members got the opportunity on March 23, 2017 to tour the water treatment plant that the city is building on East 13th Street. The Director and Assistant Director of Ames Water and Pollution Control, as well as the Superintendent of the plant and a plant Engineer led the group around the plant in groups. The $75 million plant will continue providing “award-winning” clean drinking water to the citizens of Ames.

They showed off the various treatment bays that will treat up to 15 million gallons per day, increasing the capacity from the maximum of 12 million that the expansion to the old plant provided. Drinking water in Ames is from ground water sources, which is in the form of several wells located in the area. The process of water treatment includes cascade aeration, lime softening, chloramination, filtration, and fluoridation.

Because the plant is still under construction, the group wore safety vests, hardhats, and eye protection while touring the plant. The staff from Knutson Construction Company (based out of Minnesota), the construction company awarded the project of constructing the plant, were still working on the plant late into the evening when we were there.

The building will be LEED Certified, which is a rating system devised by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation towards sustainable design. The evaluation makes the developers consider high efficiency, low waste construction and building usage in order to be LEED certified. There are four levels of certification: certified, silver, gold, and platinum. After completion of the plant, LEED evaluation specialists will do an inspection and rank the building on the level appropriate for the achievements. By investing in the components of being LEED certified, the treatment plant gets a partial loan forgiveness, which was taken out from the State Revolving Loan (SRF) fund for the cost of construction.

The group pictured (above) in the basement of the plant, where all of the piping was to route the water and other substances through the plant. Because of the location of the new plant compared to the old plant, the existing external piping infrastructure in the city can all still be utilized when the new plant is online.

The plant will be completed this summer and Ames Water Treatment staff will begin the process of switching the water treatment later this summer. A public open house will be held in September of 2017.

Above is the group of Prairie Rivers of Iowa board and staff members that toured the plant. Everyone enjoyed the tour and will use the information learned for each of our programs!