Indiana American Water invests millions for clean water in Muncie IN

The big dig is underway at the site for a $12 million upgrade to Indiana American Water's water treatment facility in Muncie, Ind.  Photo provided.

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - Century old water collection and distribution systems will be replaced by utility provider Indiana American Water that will increase capacity of clean drinking water to the community.

Work on that $12 million project began Wednesday as the utility gathered community leaders to participate in a ceremonial groundbreaking.

Mayor Dennis Tyler called the project a great improvement to the community's quality of life to ensure clean, affordable drinking water.

River City Construction out of Illinois is the primary contractor to build new wells and a treatment plant and dozens of skilled labor jobs will be created by the yearlong project.

Dan Allen, water superintendent, said some portions of the plant had been in operation more than a century when the facility was powered by steam driven by a coal fired furnace.

A major upgrade took place more than 50 years ago, but the new plant will be located out of the flood plain and closer to the laboratory and office off Burlington Drive.

Four new wells also will be drilled and other work will be done at Prairie Creek Reservoir that upgrade the capacity besides maintain the backup water supply.

When finished, Allen said the new wells and plant would produce 2.3 million gallons of drinking water a day, about a third over current capacity. The utility blends water from the reservoir with well water to provide drinking water to about 27,000 customers in the community.

Joe Loughmiller, who manages media for Indiana American, said the cost of the project would be built into future rate requests considered by state utility regulators. Indiana American markets its water as a penny a gallon.

The current plant with its one million gallon clearwater storage tank was built in 1906 and structural cracks developed after the Great Winter of 2014. That plant also survived the Great Flood of 1913. 

The new wells also will help compliance with new federal clean water standards by reducing the likelihood of disinfection by-products in drinking water by using groundwater as a water source. Several water quality improvements have been made to the water quality system to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules that we adopted in 2012.

One includes installation of automatic main flushing devices that lower disinfection by-products.

Indiana American, a subsidiary of American Water, is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state providing water or wastewater treatment. And American Water is the largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company in the United States, serving 14 million people in more than 40 states and parts of Canada.

More information on the utility giant can be found at www.amwater.com

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