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Working Past Ribbon Cutting: Bowling Green Water Treatment Plant

In October of 2023, Bowling Green (KY) Municipal Utilities (BGMU) hosted community members, city leaders, and industry partners as they celebrated the ribbon cutting to mark the completion of a 15MGD expansion to their water treatment plant. This was the culmination of a decade of work for SSR’s Civil/Water team who served as the Engineer of Record for the expansion. For us, and others involved in the design and construction of the expansion, this was not a time to step away and leave BGMU to enjoy their expanded plant – we still had work to do!  

When SSR is engaged on any project, regardless of size, market, or complexity, our entire team strives to provide a high level of service and truly become an extension of the client we’re serving. For BGMU, that meant diving into two projects on the WTP campus that will continue to help them mitigate risk and increase the resiliency and reliability of the entire plant. Since the expansion has been completed, BGMU has been able to begin shutting down parts of their old plant for necessary repairs and upgrades. This will be critical for preparing the plant for future demand from residential and commercial growth in the area. Our team is currently involved in two projects contributing to these goals, an expansion of their bleach generation system and a full rehabilitation of one of their raw water pump stations – both outputs from a preliminary engineering report we performed in conjunction with the expansion.  

BGMU utilizes a unique alternative disinfectant process, using mixed oxidant (MiOx). They wanted to provide redundancy and greater operational flexibility to the existing MiOx feed system at the existing WTP in order that the production capacity of MiOx onsite would meet the demands of the expansion. Our modifications to the MiOx feed system included a new MiOx generator, brine tank, and water softener to serve newly added system components. 

We’re also working at the WTP to rehabilitate their older raw water pump station, built in 1965. One of the challenges with this pump station is that is lies adjacent to the Barren River and is within the 100-year floodplain. Due to this, the mechanical, electrical, and process equipment were susceptible to flooding and costly repairs, in the event of a flood. The first design objective was to relocate the major electrical equipment to a new adjacent building outside of the 100-yr floodplain, thus reducing the risk to the equipment. Design improvements to the pump station included optimizing the wetwell pump bays based on Hydraulic Institute (HI) criteria, specifying a new vertical turbine pump which will increase overall station capacity, replacement of the overhead bridge crane, and modifying the discharge piping configuration to allow for a future pump and easier access to equipment, among other things. Once completed, this raw water pump station will provide additional flow and redundancy to their WTP for many years to come.  

These projects illustrate BGMU’s desire to be good stewards to their community by making proactive decisions and investments with the future in mind. This work helps them prepare for future demands while also adding additional redundancy to their treatment processes.