New state-of-the-art UV water treatment facility to be powered by the sun

The City of Cincinnati and Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) broke ground earlier this month on a $30 million state-of-the-art Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection Treatment Facility. The 19,600 square-foot facility, which is being built at the Richard Miller Treatment Plant on Kellogg Avenue, will make GCWW the largest water utility in North America to use UV disinfection following sand filtration and Granular Activated Carbon absorption.

UV disinfection does not use chemicals or produce significant levels of regulated disinfection by-products. Sand filtration removes larger particles from source water while GAC removes organic substances such as pharmaceuticals.

“We have spent the past 10 years conducting research with national and international groups to determine the best method to protect our customers from microorganisms that are resistant to chlorine disinfection,” said David Rager, GCWW director. “UV disinfection uses UV light, in low doses, to inactivate disease-causing organisms often found in water effluents that can end up in our source water.”

Officials say that in an effort to reduce GCWW’s carbon footprint, the new facility will include 160 solar panels. When paired with a second solar installation on an existing GCWW facility, significant environmental impacts are expected to be achieved annually:

  • 28,100 gallons of gasoline emissions offset– equivalent to offsetting emissions of 48 cars
  • 346,000 Kwh of energy – enough to power 33 homes
  • $151,000 in electricity costs

The UV disinfection treatment project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012. GCWW did receive rebates of approximately $150,000 from the State of Ohio for solar energy initiatives.

“Cincinnati has some of the best drinking water in the country and we are going to make it better,” Mayor Mark Mallory said. “This state-of-the-art new treatment facility illustrates the City’s commitment to continuous improvement. Our goal is to be on the cutting edge providing the cleanest, safest, tastiest drinking water in the country.”

  • Matt Jacob

    Good to see that we can still expect world class quality and forward thinking from GCWW. It’s one part of the City that everyone can agree is well managed and growing in the right direction.

  • I agree Matt. GCWW, Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, and Cincinnati Parks couldn’t be run much better. We are blessed to have such world-class functions of government like these in Cincinnati.

  • Matt Jacob

    Yes and I find it interesting that it’s starting to be constrained by Ohio state law. There have been talks recently about turning it into a Regional Water District to get around these constraining laws, but some are against it because they don’t want to turn over one of the City’s best assets so that it can benefit all in the region.

    Personally I see GCWW and it’s journey towards becoming a Regional Water District as the first real attempt at regionalism in the Cincinnati area. It just makes economic sense for the entire region in terms of ensuring low rates and high quality for future water service. Really it’s not a matter of should it be done but will it happen?

    Cincinnati has a history of fragmentations and I’m cautiously optimistic that this Regional Water District could be the start of real collaboration between the different areas of our region. It remains to be seem whether this will be done right and fairly or politically butchered by City egos.