District upgrades water treatment systems: 60M gallon capacity per day; STGnews Videocast

HURRICANE – When you turn on your kitchen tap, and clean water comes out instantly, do you ever wonder where it comes from?

For the majority of county residents, the answer is the Quail Creek Water Treatment Plant, located just below Quail Creek Reservoir.

The plant is the main water treatment facility for Washington County, processing well over half of the water in the county. And with an increasing population, water managers are working to stay ahead of demand.

Workers complete filter expansion at Quail Creek Water Treatment Plant, Washington County, Utah, May 11, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
Workers complete filter expansion at Quail Creek Water Treatment Plant, Washington County, Utah, May 11, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

Not all of the water used by county residents needs treatment – a lot of the county’s water comes from springs and wells, and only needs to be chlorinated. However, water from Quail Creek and Sand Hollow reservoirs needs extensive filtering and treatment.

The Washington County Water Conservancy District is nearing completion of an upgrade and expansion of the Quail Creek treatment plant which will bring its capacity from 48 million gallons to 60 million gallons per day.

Last year, the peak demand for the plant reached 37 million gallons per day. The project is needed to stay ahead of increasing demand brought by population growth in the county, Washington County Water Conservancy District General Manager Ron Thompson said.

The water district was able to save a substantial amount of money, Thompson said, by improving the old facility, rather than building a new one.

Costs for the expansion were kept down by reconfiguring piping within the plant, installing larger water pipes and improving the filter system by replacing the filter nozzles and medium.

“We’ve done a lot of things to this plant in the last eight years,” Thompson said. “We wanted to encourage our operators to think out of the box. We wanted to look at how we could get more out of the facility.”

Workers complete filter expansion at Quail Creek Water Treatment Plant, Washington County, Utah, May 11, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
Workers complete filter expansion at Quail Creek Water Treatment Plant, Washington County, Utah, May 11, 2015 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

To take the plant from a capacity of 20 million gallons to 40 million gallons in 2005 cost $26 million, Thompson said; to build a brand new 40-million-gallon facility would cost about $80 million.

The filter expansion cost $2.3 million, total cost for the increased capacity is expected to be between $4 million and $5 million.

The work on the plant is two-thirds of the way completed, and is expected to be finished in three to four weeks.

In the final stages of purification, particles are filtered out of the water with a combination of sands and anthracite. Replacing the filter medium with a better, higher quality filter medium and replacing all 10,000 intake nozzles will increase the amount of water that can be filtered – at the same or better quality, Thompson said.

It has taken several years to get ready for the expansion, Thompson said, to get the piping reconfigured and get all the needed materials on site so there would be no interruption in water treatment.

“Obviously this plant is critical; in the summer months we could not afford this plant to be offline,” Thompson said.

The water treatment plant became operational in 1989, and has been enlarged several times to meet increased water demand, improve efficiency and benefit from new technology.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

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  • fun bag May 11, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    well, i guess you can put lipstick on a pig, huh?

  • wilbur May 11, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Good news for all the greedy developers around town – full speed ahead courtesy of the WCWCD.

  • BIG GUY May 12, 2015 at 7:58 am

    In the famous words of Nancy Reagan, the WCWCD needs to “Just say no.” We’re on a treadmill. People want to move to Washington County. Developers respond by planning more homes. The WCWCD promises them water taps. Then the WCWCD says it needs the Lake Powell pipeline to meet what it’s already promised and the dance goes on. If the WCWCD set the maximum number of water taps it could support without the pipeline and auctioned off those remaining to the highest bidders, the pipeline (and all the taxes needed to pay for it) would not be needed. The WCWCD has promised more than it can deliver and our county commissioners are going to commit to the multi-billion dollar pipeline…without a public vote!
    There would be a downside to limiting WCWCD water taps. The price of existing homes and rent would increase substantially as they have in other communities that limit building permits. While that will benefit existing homeowners and landlords, we’d have a housing crisis for lower income folks. The pressure for controversial and unpopular low income housing would become immense and perhaps inevitable.

    • fun bag May 12, 2015 at 11:10 am

      they’re gonna make us all pay for that monster pipe through property taxes and utility fees, but the golf courses will be happy, because we’ll be subsidizing cheap water for them for the rest of our lives. old wealthy white men need to golf, and i guess we all need to pay for them to do so huh?

      • fun bag May 12, 2015 at 11:12 am

        the arabs have learned to play their little golf game in the sand. maybe someday they get a clue over here…

      • wilbur May 12, 2015 at 1:23 pm

        It’s the “St. George miracle”; just bait equity-rich California retirees with a house on the links, subsidized by every ones water bill. It sure isn’t high pay industrial jobs, University research labs opportunities or EFX work in the sprawling movie biz that bring ’em here.

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