The Ottumwa Courier

October 18, 2013

Lime slakers benefiting Ottumwans for years to come

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Water Works has plenty on their plate as fall rolls around. From rehabbing the pump station at the Ottumwa Regional Airport to revamping the high service pump room at the water treatment plant, it would be wise to say they don’t have the time or manpower to do much else.

However, they have found the means to begin yet another project, and this one could help save an excess of $50,000 a year in chemical costs, according to production manager Tim Albert.

Water Works is currently installing new lime slakers at the hydro facility, which will process quicklime in a much more efficient manner than the system currently used, Albert says. While the installation process for the lime slakers is tedious and very time consuming, once they are completely installed at the beginning of next year, Water Works officials will see vast improvements in operations and the state of their facility.

“It is an improvement in efficiency,” Albert said. “They will also help keep the dust out of the building. We can move the process outside and help clean the place up.”

As if the new improvements that the lime slakers will bring wasn’t enough, Water Works was also able to get a fantastic deal on the new equipment. According to Albert, the silos alone are estimated to cost approximately $1,500,000 brand new, but they were able to find two that had been used previously. After the shipping costs for the silos — which were brought all the way from California — and installation fees, the total estimate for the project is only $750,000, far less than even the brand new silos would cost.

“We really did get a deal on the equipment,” Albert said. “It’s one of those rare things where you can say we thought outside the box, and it will work out well for the community.”

Even though the silos that Water Works purchased are used, they still have another 30 years of expected lifetime, and given the cost of chemicals that will be saved each year, they should pay for themselves “rather quickly,” he said. Even more, they have the ability to meet any sizeable growth that Ottumwa has in that time span.

The new silos have the ability to make a very positive impact on the Ottumwa community, and Albert is glad to have them.

“It’s going to be a very nice piece of equipment,” he said.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh