HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - The City of Wyoming supplies water to close to a quarter-million customers in over a dozen communities. Thursday, they allowed 24 Hour News 8 to take you inside the filtration plant near the Lake Michigan shoreline to give you an inside look at how your water is cleaned.
It is a process that goes well beyond testing a beaker of water and calling it good.
"I'm a consumer, just like everybody else. And I'm not going to put anything out that I wouldn't be willing to drink myself," City Of Wyoming Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Jerry Caron said.
An equipment failure at the Rockford water treatment plant led to a positive test for E. coli this week and a subsequent boil water advisory. There, the water supply comes from wells. Mother Nature has already taken care of the first step of the filtration process.
But water for Wyoming, Grand Rapids and other West Michigan communities comes from Lake Michigan.
Wyoming alone runs an average of 35 million gallons of water a day through a series of mechanical and chemical processes at its Holland plant to make it drinkable, followed by more tests and more treatment before it's piped 26 miles east to the City of Wyoming.
"This is the area that we are monitoring to make sure things are correct in our process," Caron explained as he showed 24 Hour News 8 the plant control room.
The control room monitors the process, including chlorinators like the one that caused problems in Rockford. If there's a problem, screens light up and alarms sound.
"If we have a parameter, something that's a high tank alarm, a low tank ... this system will actually tell us," Caron said.
Pressure in the transmission line from the treatment plant, distribution lines, and water levels in tanks in the municipalities that buy from Wyoming are monitored constantly for a drop in pressure indicating a break in the line, which could allow bacteria into the water.
Samples are taken on a daily basis from various sites in the distribution system and tested in the lab to make sure there aren't any problems.
"We have to make sure it's good when it leaves here. We have to make sure when you open your tap," Caron said.
Officials at the Grand Rapids Wastewater Treatment Plant, which serves about 265,000 people in 10 communities, say they follow many of the same procedures.
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