The department hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on Saturday, August 26, and more than 2,000 people attended to tour the new Ames Water Treatment Plant. During that event, participants learned more about treating and distributing millions of gallons of award-winning Ames water to more than 20,000 homes and businesses throughout the city. Tour requests since then have been so frequent that not all requests could be met.
As a result of the demand, staff is hosting another date for public tours, which will include some displays and a showing of the Water Treatment Plant documentary. Light refreshments will be available. The last tour will begin at 11:30 a.m.
“High-quality and great-tasting drinking water has become a part of the cultural identity of the Ames community,” said John Dunn, Water and Pollution Control Director. “We are so excited to offer residents the opportunity to visit and learn more about the treatment process.”
The new 15 million gallon-per-day (MGD) water treatment plant replaces the more than 90-year-old facility located at 300 E. Fifth St. The location of the new treatment plant, on property formerly owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, allows for the reuse of existing infrastructure and provides space for future expansion.
Planning for the new plant began in 2008 when a study determined that the future needs of the Ames community could not be met by the current plant site. The entire cost of the project was nearly $70 million. While final construction activity at the site is still ongoing, the facility has been providing water to the Ames community since late July 2017.
The new plant will be the largest LEED-certified water treatment plant in Iowa. Not only was the plant designed to be environmentally efficient, the LEED certification will result in approximately $6.5 million of borrowed cost to be forgiven by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
Key LEED design elements include the following:
- A white roof was used to reduce the heat island effect.
- Water-efficient landscaping serves to filter storm water runoff while reducing the water footprint of the facility.
- Water-efficient plumbing provides a 33% reduction over baseline water use.
- 88% of construction waste was recycled and diverted from the landfill.
- Materials for the new plant have 20% recycled content and 20% of total materials came from regional resources. New wood used was certified in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council's guidelines that encourage environmentally responsible forest management.
- The heating and cooling system passes the raw water entering the plant through a geothermal heat exchanger, providing a significant reduction in energy over a conventional chiller system.
The Ames Water Plant pulls water out of the aquifer from a network of 22 wells spread over four distinct well fields. These wells range in depth from 76 to 146 feet, and range in capacity from 200 gallons per minute to as much as 1,200 gallons per minute. In addition, three new wells in a new well field are currently under design and anticipated to be active by 2019.
For more up to date information, please check the department’s website www.cityofames.org/water or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @AmesWater.