A complex and thorough filtration and treatment process safeguards our health by ensuring that our water is safe and clean. The highly trained staff at the Ed E. Love Water Treatment Plant provides award-winning water that meets and exceeds the strict water quality guidelines established by state and federal regulations. The excellence of our operation has repeatedly won recognition from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the agency charged with enforcing water regulations.
The plant was completed in 1976 and expanded and updated in 1995 to meet the future needs of Tuscaloosa. The Ed Love Water Plant has an overall treatment capacity of 45.7 million gallons per day.
The Ed Love Water Plant has an on-site Chemistry and Bacteriological Laboratory, where analyses are run 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. These laboratories are valuable assets to the City of Tuscaloosa, and to the citizens who expect the best quality water.
When the raw water from Lake Tuscaloosa arrives at the water plant, the operator determines the correct dosage of 5 different chemicals used in the treatment process; aluminum sulfate Al2(SO4)3 (Alum), calcium hydroxide CaOH (pebble quick lime), chlorine (Cl2), potassium permanganate (KMnO4), hydrofluosilicic acid H2SiF6 (fluoride).
The treatment process is divided into different stages: Coagulation, the first stage where a chemical reaction occurs when Alum and Lime are mixed with the raw water coming from the lake to bind particles into clumps called "floc". Flocculation occurs with the slow mixing of the flocculation, bringing particles together by Brownian Movement; and Van der Waals forces cause the colloids to bond or floc together. A small amount of potassium permanganate is added as the water enters the treatment process to prevent taste and odor problems. Sedimentation is the next stage, in which large basins of water are slowly moved and time is allowed for particles to settle to the bottom for later removal. After sedimentation, the pH is raised by the addition of more lime; and then the fluoride is added for the prevention of tooth decay. Filtration is the final stage of water treatment. The multi-media filter is made up of anthracite coal as the top layer, followed by layers of garnet sand and silica sand with different specific gravities. The bottom layers of the filters are made with pebbles from small to large, followed by a layer of Leopold ceramic block for the drain system. The chlorine is added to the filtered water and then the final product is directed to one of two clearwell underground storage tanks, these tanks hold 3,800,000 gallons. When the storage tanks in the distribution system show a demand for water, the finished water pumps direct the water to the area needing more water.
The water plant has a solids removal belt press for removing the solids collected from settling basins and from filter backwashing. The solids are removed and sent to the landfill, the water is recycled with the raw water coming into the plant for treatment. There are 12 water towers in the distribution system. These storage tanks hold 20,576,000 gallons of water for immediate supply on demand. The operator monitors the water level in each tank and directs water to the tank needing water when the level begins to fall. We have approximately 23 booster pumps in 10 booster stations located in the water distribution system. The operator monitors the pressure at different locations and when low/high pressure is indicated they add/remove booster pumps accordingly. Two 1500 KVA Caterpillar Generators are installed at the Water Plant to prevent service interruptions to the customers due to a power failure.
Fire hydrant servicing, flushing and painting programs are all handled by personnel from the water plant. Fire hydrants are tested and color-coded to represent the amount of water that can flow through the line to the hydrant. The flushing program insures that all lines are flushed on a regular basis. In addition, lines are flushed when water quality complaints are received.
The Ed Love Water Plant is operated by personnel who supply the knowledge and ability to oversee the multi-million dollar operation and equipment. They are highly trained and skilled employees; and the Operators, have passed the Alabama Department of Environmental Management Grade IV examination in order to obtain the mandatory certification for the advanced level of water treatment. The certification must be renewed every three years, with proof of obtaining the required number of hours of continuing education. The Water Quality Program Manager must pass recertification every year through proficiency tests and on-site EPA evaluations every two years. These valued employees take pride in providing the best water quality possible to the public. The City of Tuscaloosa can certainly take pride in the fact that the water quality produced by these employees is widely acclaimed as an exceptional product; as is evidenced by the industries that have located in the area.
The fire hydrant flushing crew flushes from 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM on scheduled days. The employees at the Ed Love Plant receive all after-hour calls, water quality complaints and calls from the fire department when laying lines to put out fires for increased water pressure at the desired location.
The Ed E. Love Water Treatment Plant is an award-winning example of modern water treatment technology. Tours are available and are welcomed with advance notice.
Ed Love Water Treatment Plant
Ethan Hicks Chief Treatment Plant Operator
1125 Jack Warner Pkwy Tuscaloosa, AL 35404 205-248-5630
Jerry Plott Water Treatment Plant
2101 New Watermelon Rd Tuscaloosa, AL 35406 205-248-5600