Cañon City high-schoolers toured the water treatment plant recently

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From the Cañon City Daily Record (Carie Canteburry):

Students in Dave Laughlin’s biology class at Cañon City High School got an up-close look at the process from coagulation to disinfection during a tour of the plant Wednesday.

“I take my students here because their final in the spring semester is a project on the quality of our water,” he said. “We are intimately tied to its health and the ecosystems that surround us. We come up here to see what the people do for us on a daily basis that we take for granted.”

The plant is a 7-day a week, 24-hour operation that runs throughout the year, and it is required to meet the most stringent and updated state and federal water quality regulations as identified under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Plant operator Travis Payne said the time it takes for the water to make it from the Arkansas River to a home can be as little as two days.

The site was developed in 1908 and served as a slow sand filtration system for several years. Today, the plant has a 22-million gallon per day capacity. The average use is about 5.5 million gallons per day. During summer months, when more people water their lawns and gardens, fill swimming pools, wash cars and run swamp coolers, the plant supplies close to 12 million gallons of water each day.

More coverage from Tracy Harmon writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

“As water resources are getting smaller and smaller, we have a very small amount of water to use every day for our needs,” Bob Hartzman, plant manager told the students. He talked to students about the “fascinating chemistry” of the water treatment process and how jobs in the field can be high paying — about $25 an hour. “We have the capacity to treat 22 million gallons of water a day, but the city uses 5.5 million gallons a day on average. So we can probably meet demand for the next 10 to 15 years,” Hartzman said.

The water treatment plant featured two football-field sized slow sand filters when it opened in 1908. Today it is a surface water treatment plant. Plant operator Travis Payne told the students that once particles settle out of water in the sedimentation tanks it would have been “sent out the door with some chlorine 20 years ago but things have changed.” Nowadays the intense process includes a coal filtering system and lab testing. During spring runoff, the workers have to take water that has a particle reading as high as 2,200 and clean it up to a reading between 0.06 and 0.09 on the turbidity scale.

More water treatment coverage here and here.

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