Illinois American Water’s Pontiac District is kicking off a significant investment at the local water treatment plant. Earlier this year, construction began on installing a new carbon feed system. This work is in addition to the project which began last year to rehabilitate six filters and replace a backup generator.

According to Corey Robinson, operations superintendent for the Pontiac District, these projects are part of a comprehensive plan to upgrade the local water system. This work is not related to the coronavirus.

Robinson said, “Our engineering team continues to evaluate our 5-and 10- year plans to ensure we are investing in our infrastructure. This ensures we are proactive in avoiding crisis situations and planning for the future.”

Combined, the carbon feed system, filters and generator represent an investment of approximately $4 million in the local water system. These projects will enhance the water treatment process and ensure reliability for continued high-quality water service for years to come.

Robinson explained the carbon feed system will help to decrease impact from seasonal changes to the local water source, the Vermilion River. He said, “It is common during summer months for algae and other organic compounds to develop in the river. This occurrence can cause taste and odor issues.”

Including activated carbon in the water treatment process helps to decrease the aesthetic change in drinking water while ensuring it is safe. This is a common practice in water treatment and complies with regulatory standards.

In addition to the carbon feed system project, which should be completed next summer, six filters and the backup generator will be replaced. According to Robinson, this infrastructure is nearing the end of its lifespan. The filter project began last year and will be completed in 2020.

The generator project will also be completed this year. This work will ensure continued service in the event of a power outage and severe weather events.

Illinois American Water’s investment at the Pontiac 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 -$100 million annually in water and wastewater improvements across the state.