New, Older, Oldest:
The Evolution of Water Treatment at Lake Hatcher
Anyone who has backpacked for the last 30 years can testify to the changes in water filter technology; 30 years ago, giardia was barely a concern in the wilderness areas.
On a much larger scale, treatment methods for municipal water systems have also seen huge technological changes. Much of this has been driven not only by increases in contaminants of concern but also tighter and tighter federal and state drinking water standards.
In the late 1970s the first water plant in the Hatcher/Highlands area was built (see picture, right). It initially served one house and had a capacity of 25 gallons per minute (.036 million gallons per day, or mgd). This mini water plant now resides at Crowley Ranch Reserve after a stint of service at the Wolf Creek Ski Area.
In 1981, due to the demand for water resulting from buildout in the western part of the District, a new facility was constructed with a 1 mgd capacity. In 1992 this was expanded to a 2 mgd capacity. The technology (Complete Treatment System) employed by these three iterations of Hatcher Water Treatment was essentially the same, just expanded over time.
In early 2008, due to stricter drinking water regulations, three types of new technology at this facility went on-line: Granular Activated Carbon (GAC), chlorine dioxide and clear well. In addition, SolarBees® were installed in the lake to reduce total organic compounds coming into the plant. However, all this did not change the fact that the fundamental infrastructure - the Complete Treatment System components- were aged and reaching the end of their service/design life.
Enter even tighter drinking water standards and a more compromised lake, due to a buildout boom in the mid-2000's. After two years of planning and engineering, in June 2010 a new facility broke ground. This facility will continue to use the new 2008 technologies but the Complete Treatment System components will be replaced with the latest microfiltration technology. The plant also will be expandable to 4 mgd.
We have come a long way in 30 years; it will be interesting to see where we are 30 years from now!