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Freeport's new water treatment plant and well are up and running

Aug 02, 2023Aug 02, 2023

Eight years and $13 million later, Freeport's new state-of-the art water treatment plant at 1521 Field Circle and new well No. 11 are now operational.

It's been two weeks since the new plant and well went online, and city officials are still toasting glasses of clean drinking water.

"I've been in the water treatment industry since 1998, and I've never seen a plant that was designed as well and executed as well as this one," said Freeport City Manager Rob Boyer.

More:Freeport breaks ground on water treatment facility, part of water system upgrade project

Water treatment plants by nature are known for having high levels of humidity causing carbon steel and zinc-based metals to corrode.

Boyers said the Fehr Graham - Engineering & Environmental designed plant was built with corrosion-resistant stainless steel and anodized aluminum.

"Where we couldn't use stainless steel or aluminum, we used a very high-grade epoxy finish system. So, the finishes on all the piping should last a long time. The plant was officially built for a 100-year lifetime."

Major upgrades hadn't been done for decades, Boyers said, but it was the 2015 discovery of forever chemicals in an alluvial deposit area near the Pecatonica River that prompted the city to cap off two contaminated wells and seek another water source.

The new well, No. 11, is located next to the Lincoln-Douglas waster tower. It is approximately 1,200-feet deep and taps into two limestone aquifers.

A 2-million-gallon-per-day submersible pump provides 2 million gallons of raw water from the aquifers to the new water treatment plant.

The water is filtered and chemically treated with chlorine and fluoride and placed into a 75,000 gallon "clear well," a concrete tank underneath the new water treatment plant before it is pumped into the city's distribution system.

The new well cost about $2 million, and the treatment plant, which has a backup generator, offices, and a laboratory for water quality monitoring, slip-resistant flooring, and vehicle service bays, cost about $11 million.

"This plant far exceeds anything I've ever seen in the industry," Boyers said.

The project is being funded through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's revolving loan fund.

The city hopes to break ground in a couple of years on another new well.

Chris Green: 815-987-1241; [email protected]; @chrisfgreen