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Government

North Liberty to 'toast' its new water plant

Facility increases output, improves taste and smell

Nick Bowman, a water maintenance specialist at the North Liberty water treatment plant, on Thursday discusses the membranes used to treat raw water coming from wells at the new water treatment plant in North Liberty. The public is invited to tour and toast the new plant Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Nick Bowman, a water maintenance specialist at the North Liberty water treatment plant, on Thursday discusses the membranes used to treat raw water coming from wells at the new water treatment plant in North Liberty. The public is invited to tour and toast the new plant Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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NORTH LIBERTY — Residents can pour themselves a glass of “high-quality H20” from North Liberty’s new water treatment plant next week.

The city began operating the $20 million plant a couple of weeks ago and has scheduled a (water) toast Wednesday to celebrate.

Next Wednesday, June 20, the public can join in the public toast — and a tour — from 4 to 6 p.m. at 433 S. Front St.

“Obviously, water is something that everybody needs and is such a part of daily life,” city spokesman Nick Bergus said. “I think projects like this are so ingrained into the life of residents and business and schools that it really does touch every aspect.”

The facility can treat up to 3 million gallons of water per day and serve up to 24,000 residents. North Liberty, one of the state’s fastest growing cities, has a population around 18,800 now.

Since the plant opened, it has been treating an average of 1.4 million or 1.5 million gallons a day. It pulls water from the Jordan and Silurian aquifers.

The new plant was built with room to double its output if the city’s population grows beyond its capacity, which may happen as soon as 2028 or 2030, Bergus said.

North Liberty’s old water plant on South Chestnut Street was built in the mid-1970s and had a peak flow of 2 million gallons per day.

Water treatment crews now use that space as a workshop.

“We have pretty low usage per resident, all things considered, so that helped extend the life of the last plant while this one was coming online,” Bergus said.

The new plant opened just in time for the hottest months of the year.

“That’s a high usage time so it being ready to go and online before summer is good,” Bergus said.

The project also included sinking two new wells and adding some new water lines.

The new plant also uses new treatment methods, which allows for the city to better control the water’s taste and scent.

While the city’s water was always safe, the new treatment improves the quality, Bergus said.

“Higher quality water, even if you’re not thinking about it, makes a difference,” he said. “Even if it’s ‘my hair looks better,’ right?, or ‘my clothes last longer,’ or what have you, I think that all makes a difference.”

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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