When the raw water from Lake Tuscaloosa arrives at the Jerry Plott water plant, the operator determines the correct dosage of 7 different chemicals used in the treatment process; polyaluminum chlorosulfate (PACl), sodium hydroxide Na(OH)2 (caustic), sodium hypochlorite NaClO, chlorine dioxide ClO2, hydrofluosilicic acid H2SiF6 (fluoride), zinc/orthophosphate Zn(PO4) (zinc/phosphate), and Sodium Permanganate NaMnO4.
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. Sodium Permanganate is sometimes added before the Chlorine Dioxide to aide in the removal of these minerals. The next stage, coagulation begins when PACl and Caustic 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 basins of water are slowly moved and time is allowed for particles to settle to the bottom for later removal, the Jerry Plott WTP utilizes plate settlers to decrease the time needed for sedimentation. After sedimentation, the pH is raised by the addition of more Caustic; and then the Hypochlorite and Chlorine Dioxide is added for disinfection and oxidation purposes. After this chemical addition the water moves to filtration. The Jerry Plott WTP utilizes a Pall Microza® microfiltration membrane 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 a clearwell aboveground storage tanks, this tank holds 1,000,000 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 solids and water removed from the sedimentation basin are sent to the wastewater plant for additional treatment. There are 4 water towers in the distribution system fed from the Jerry Plott WTP. These storage tanks hold 9,000,000 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 8 booster pumps in 3 booster stations located in the water distribution system fed by Jerry Plott WTP. The operator monitors the pressure at different locations and when low/high pressure is indicated they add/remove booster pumps accordingly. One 1500 KVA Caterpillar Generators are installed at the Water Plant to prevent service interruptions to the customers due to a power failure.