The Village of Mead, Nebraska had a water tower that was built in 1913, making it more than 100 years old. The village began struggling with water quality issues, with high levels of arsenic, manganese, and iron infiltrating the water supply and hitting the maximum amount that the Environmental Protection Agency would allow. A test well was drilled to mitigate the arsenic levels in the existing wells, but the new well had high levels of uranium, rendering it unusable. The village board ultimately decided to build a centralized treatment facility with a new water tower and wells.
Olsson came on board to provide a water supply and treatment study to determine any new supply sources, as well as evaluate treatment options for the removal of arsenic from their existing wells. The new water tower design holds 150,000 gallons of water, more than four times as much as the 1913 tower, which could only hold 35,000 gallons. Two 12-inch wells were also drilled, and they were designed to alternate pumping water between 250 and 300 gallons per minute each. The old tower was “retired” once the new tower went up, putting to rest the decade-long difficulties the village faced.
A new pressure filtration water treatment facility was designed and constructed to remove arsenic, iron, and manganese. Pilot testing was required due to the removal of arsenic, which is a primary contaminant. The results of the pilot test exhibited signs of iron complexation, exhibited as early manganese breakthrough, which prompted jar testing. The jar testing results required a recommendation to add polymer and coagulant to allow for better manganese removal, longer filter run times, and greater times between backwashing. The facility included provisions for backwash collection and recycle to reduce water sent to the sewer, and new complete retention wastewater treatment lagoons.
Project construction was completed in 2021 and it received an ACEC Nebraska Honor Award in 2022
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