Illinois American Water’s Interurban (Metro East) District, which serves the communities of East St. Louis, Granite City, Belleville and surrounding areas, has completed a significant upgrade at its East. St. Louis Water Treatment Plant. The approximately $12 million investment helps to enhance reliability and operational efficiencies, while incorporating environmental technology.
The project, which kicked off in 2015, included a significant electrical upgrade and water treatment system improvement. According to Karen Cooper, senior manager of field operations and production, a new 2.5 megawatt generator and power distribution switchgear were installed in news buildings able to withstand 150 mph winds. Upgrades were also made to critical electrical and SCADA monitoring systems, to ensure continued high-quality and reliable water service. Overhead electrical lines distributing power to remote parts of the plant were also replaced with underground lines to ensure safety and reliability.
The water treatment system was also upgraded. The Mississippi River, the source water for the Metro East area, can have high levels of sand and grit. To combat this, a grit removal system was installed. According to Cooper, the technology will reduce chemical usage and maintenance, resulting from sand and grit in the treatment process.
Cooper said: “There have been many expansions and renovations in the last century to the East St. Louis plant to ensure reliable, safe water service to Metro East customers. We are proud of our history and continued commitment to invest prudently and proactively. This recent upgrade improves not only our operational efficiencies but also our environmental footprint.”
Illinois American Water contracted with Sachs Electric in Granite City on the project. Sachs committed to diverse participation on the project. Illinois American Water President Bruce Hauk explained, “At Illinois American Water, our greatest assets are our employees, suppliers, and contractors. We see diversity as a vital element to not only our company’s success, but that of our entire team.”
Illinois American Water’s investment at the East St. Louis water treatment plant is an example of continuous investments and improvements being made, helping to meet the demands of today’s customers and planning for the future. These types of investments are needed across the nation to maintain critical infrastructure.
According to the American Water Works Association, the leading trade association serving the country’s water industry, at least $1 trillion is needed over the next 25 years to maintain and replace the nation’s outdated water and wastewater systems. Illinois American Water has been addressing this challenge by investing $70 million to $100 million annually in water and wastewater improvements across the state.
The East St. Louis water treatment facility is an award-winning member of the Partnership for Safe Water. This national recognition is given to fewer than 150 water treatment plants in the U.S. The Partnership is a national voluntary initiative developed by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other water organizations to recognize water suppliers that consistently achieve water treatment standards that go above and beyond EPA regulatory requirements. As a member of the program, water utilities pledge to continually improve their treatment operations and undergo a rigorous review that includes a four-phase self-assessment and peer-review process.
About Illinois American Water
Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.