By Kristin Rover
After four years of planning, construction, and renovation, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate completed expansion of the Bob McEwen Water Treatment Plant in Batavia.
Clermont County Commissioners and officials with the Clermont County Engineer’s Office and the Clermont County Water Resources Department attended the ceremony, which included a presentation and tour of the facility.
Lyle Bloom, director of utilities for the Clermont County Water Resources Department, said discussions began in 2009 to expand the Bob McEwen Water Treatment Plant in the county.
Bloom said four years later, the plant capacity has been increased, they have updated technology to a granular activated carbon facility, and they have made other much-needed improvements to better serve the community.
“I’d like to thank everyone for being here, and I would like to thank the leadership and county for being committed to providing safe drinking water to the community,” Bloom said.
Clermont County Commissioner Bob Proud said the improvements were a long time coming.
“In the early 90s, we wanted to draw water out of East Fork and the state wasn’t going to allow it,” Proud said.
Proud said state law prohibited counties from drawing water from lakes, and conflicts between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources parks and recreation and water divisions were making it difficult to gain permission.
Proud said they worked with former State Representative Bob McEwen, who the plant was later named after, to change the law.
“It was an act of congress that allowed us to draw water,” Proud said.
Proud said it has been proven that using the water from Harsha Lake for the community has not affected fishing, boating or other activities at East Fork State Park, and using the lake has worked well for the community.
The plant provides water to Batavia and surrounding villages and townships.
According to the county, in 2005, the peak water usage in one day reached 80 percent of the treatment capacity for all three plants in the county.
With the capacity of the plant in question and other upgrades needed, commissioners had to decide the next step.
“We had to either contract with Cincinnati, or expand the plant,” Proud said about the decision. “We didn’t want to rely on someone else.”
Clermont County Commissioners began working on the expansion project for Bob McEwen Water Treatment Plant, which increased capacity from 10 million gallons per day to 19 million gallons per day.
Clermont County Commissioner David Uible said having more capacity is wonderful for the county.
“The capacity increase of over one-third is really going to allow the county to grow,” Commissioner David Uible said during the ceremony.
Uible complimented the facility and thanked everyone involved for working together to complete the project.
During a tour of the facility, Mark Day, assistant director of the Clermont County Water Resources Department, explained all of the renovations and improvements at the facility.
Day said construction expand the capacity of the facility, but also updated the equipment in the facility and added new technology to improve water filtration.
Day said they added granular activated carbon contactors, which is a more up-to-date water treatment process, to the facility during the renovation.
Day said not long after they added the technology, the Environmental Protection Agency began monitoring harmful algae in plants using lake water. He said the new technology adds another layer of disinfection in the water treatment process.
“We are sure thankful we have it now,” Day said about the granular activated carbon contactors.
The water treatment process at the plant involves many steps and procedures. Treatment processes include taste and odor control, color removal, coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, fluoridation, granular activated carbon contactors, disinfection and corrosion control.
The Bob McEwen Water Treatment Plant is one of three water treatment facilities operated by the county. The other facilities include the Miami-Goshen-Stonelick and Pierce-Union-Batavia water treatment plants.
For more information about the Bob McEwen Water Treatment Plant expansion, or the other water treatment facilities in the county, visit www.wrd.clermontcountyohio.gov.