Edinburgh unveils new water treatment facility

The new water treatment plant can handle 2.1 million gallons and is expandable to 2.8 million gallons per day.

Elissa Maudlin | Daily Journal

EDINBURGH — With a new plant unveiled, Edinburgh water customers can say goodbye to past water issues.

Edinburgh officials unveiled the new facility Wednesday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house. The new water treatment plant, at 317 N. Main St., was built on the site of the 1997-built plant that stayed in use longer than originally intended.

The old facility was designed to be a 15-year plant, said Bill Jones, water superintendent. Instead, the town used it for 27 years before upgrading. Through the years, Jones said the old plant became unable to remove iron and manganese, which at one time in 2020 caused Edinburgh’s water to turn brown. He also said the old facility would leak.

When the old plant was rehabilitated in 2012, the officials knew it was time for a new facility but the town council at the time wasn’t ready to take that step, he said. In 2019, when he became superintendent, Jones said the council asked him what needed to be done and his response was a new plant.

“This was exactly what I wanted to do,” Jones said about the new facility. “I have no complaints.”

Work was also recently done on the town’s water wellfield. Three existing wells were rehabilitated and a new well was added.

The new plant produces 2.1 million gallons per day and is expandable to 2.8 million gallons per day. The town’s water capacity used to be 1.4 million gallons per day.

Jones also said the old facility had only 20 minutes of detention time, whereas the new facility will have detention of up to an hour and a half. This allows more time for the plant to treat the water more thoroughly.

“The quality of water that’s coming out of this place is outstanding,” Jones said during the open house tour where he explained how the new plant works to attendees Wednesday. “We were able to eliminate a couple of chemicals … We got less chemicals to make a better quality of water.”

With the new facility, the town can discontinue the use of sodium permanganate that was being added to Edinburgh’s water to treat the higher-than-normal iron and manganese contents, which turned the town’s water brown in 2020.

The new plant cost approximately $7 million including engineering and design costs. Edinburgh received a $740,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Rural and Community Affairs and the town financed the rest with a State Revolving Fund loan, Jones previously said. Wessler Engineering, Inc. designed the plant, Graves Construction Services, Inc. constructed the new plant and Peerless Midwest, Inc. worked on the wells.

“I’ve been stressed for two years,” Jones said. “It was supposed to be done and going in July of last year (but) with material restraints and all that … “

Town officials and others who made the plant possible spoke at the ceremony. Town Council President Ryan Piercefield said the new plant is a point of pride.

“We’re very excited about the new water treatment plant,” Piercefield said. “… We improved the area, beautification of the area. Just the building alone, the functionality is amazing, but the beauty of the building is in itself something to really be proud of, we’re very excited about this. The community is very excited about it.”

Adam Sitka, project manager at Wessler, said the process has been a “three-year adventure” to investigate why the old plant wasn’t working, which involved bringing in other players who were able to give the company more information.

“I just want to thank you all for caring that much about this project and asking all those questions because without that, we wouldn’t have what you see here today,” Sitka said.