When the raw water from Lake Tuscaloosa arrives at the Ed Love water plant, the operator determines the correct dosage of 6 different chemicals used in the treatment process; polyaluminum chlorosulfate (PACl), calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2 (liquid lime slurry), sodium hypochlorite NaClO, chlorine dioxide ClO2, hydrofluosilicic acid H2SiF6 (fluoride), and zinc/orthophosphate Zn(PO4) (zinc/phosphate) .
The treatment process is divided into different stages: Pretreatment, the first stage where a chemical reaction occurs where Chlorine Dioxide is mixed with the raw water coming from the lake to oxidize organics and remove dissolved minerals, such as iron and manganese. Lime is also mixed with the raw water during pretreatment to raise the pH and alkalinity. The next stage, coagulation begins when PACl is mixed with the pretreated raw water to bind particles into clumps called "floc". Flocculation occurs with the slow mixing of the treated water, bringing particles together by Brownian Movement; and Van der Waals forces cause the colloids to bond or floc together. 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 hypochlorite is added for disinfection and oxidation purposes. After this chemical addition the water moves to filtration. 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. More hypochlorite is added to the filtered water, along with fluoride which is added for the prevention of tooth decay and zinc phosphate which is added for corrosion control in the distribution system. 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 sent to the wastewater plant for additional treatment. There are 9 (soon to be 10) water towers in the distribution system fed from the Ed Love WTP. These storage tanks hold 14,200,000 (soon to be 15,200,000) 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 19 booster pumps in 6 booster stations located in the water distribution system fed by Ed Love WTP. 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 flushing is handled by personnel from the water plant. 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 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 putting out fires for increased water pressure at the desired location.