By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –
The 65-year-old water plant that serves the town of Moorefield, Pilgrims Pride and the Hardy County Public Service District is in desperate need of replacement.
“The sediment basins are the real issue,” said Moorefield Public Works Director Lucas Gagnon. “They are 65 years old and have been repaired many times. The freezing and thawing really hurts the concrete, makes it soft.”
In addition, the plant suffered some serious damage during the 2011 earthquake.
A 22-year-old water plant, located adjacent to the older plant, also serves the town of Moorefield, Pilgrim’s Pride and the Hardy County Public Service District. It is nowhere near capable of producing enough water, should something happen to the older plant.
Both water plants are running at full capacity, 18 – 20 hours a day, just to keep up with the demand. It’s a dubious situation.
“If we took the old plant off-line, we would have to double the size of the newer plant,” Gagnon said. “The question then becomes which is more economical, to build onto a plant that’s 22 years old, or to build a completely new plant. We believe the answer is to build a new plant.”
The town of Moorefield has embarked on the process of designing and funding a new water plant. Part of the economics is the development of new water filtration technology.
“The health department is imposing ever increasing regulations as far as water quality,” Gagnon said. “The old technology makes it impossible to conform to those regulations.”
The new technology includes membrane filters that replace the old media filters. In the past, raw water was filtered through activated charcoal, sand or other media, before it was chemically treated.
Membrane filtration is a series of porous cellulose membranes. They filter out solids, bacteria and other organic material. Reverse Osmosis is used to filter out non organic contaminants.
“If we were to add onto the new plant, we would not be addressing the capacity situation,” Gagnon said.
Currently the two facilities pump 3.5 million gallons of water per day, which is their maximum capacity. As mentioned, they are running 18 – 20 hours per day to keep up with demand. The other 4 – 6 hours are used for back washing and maintenance. “The health department frowns on the systems running more than 16 hours a day,” Gagnon said.
A new water plant could produce the 3.5 million gallons a day in 8 – 12 hours. It’s full capacity is 7.5 million gallons per day, more than twice what is being used now.