Newport moves to harden water system


NEWPORT — During its regular meeting Nov. 2, the Newport City Council voted to purchase an additional filter rack to add redundancy to its water treatment capability.

After fouling of the membrane filters at the plant led to critical supply levels and water curtailments this past summer, the plant’s designer, HDR Engineering, made three recommendations to avoid a repeat during peak season next year.

One of those recommendations, the collection of more data on levels of dissolved organics in the untreated water, which could offer warning of an impending fouling risk, has already been implemented. The other recommendations involve approximately $1 million in physical improvements to the plant — an estimated $626,000 for the addition of a fifth filter rack and $430,000 to retrofit of the existing racks for “excess feed water recirculation,” easing the filter cleaning process. 

In an Oct. 5 report on HDR’s recommendations, former Public Works Director Tim Gross said the council would need to move on the purchase of a new rack by November in order for it to be installed in time for next summer. On Oct. 19, the city council voted to reallocate $626,000 for that purpose, and on Nov. 2, councilors approved a $474,852 expenditure for a filter rack skid and filter modules from Pall Water Corp.

The remainder of the allocation will be spent on HDR’s engineering services and installation by Slayden Construction, $35,000 and $116,000, respectively. Delivery of the fifth rack and filters is expected in 17 weeks, with a planned start of construction in April 2021.

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