Louisville Water Continues Pursuit of Innovation in Water Quality & Supply

July 9, 2015

Since we pumped the first gallon of water into homes in 1860, Louisville Water’s goal has been to provide the purest supply of water to our customers. Company visionaries such as then Chief Engineer Thomas Scowden and his assistant, Charles Hermany, created treatment systems that are still in use today. Louisville Water is always seeking more natural ways to treat our water supply. One such way is Riverbank Filtration. Riverbank Filtration allows us a “green” way to supply water, using the sand and gravel in the earth as a natural filter. In 2010, Louisville Water implemented Riverbank Filtration at its B.E. Payne Treatment Plant, one of two water treatment plans. Tthe American Society of Civil Engineers honored Louisville Water Company in 2011 with “Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award” for its Riverbank Filtration Project.   In May, Louisville Water Board members were updated on a preliminary engineering study regarding the implementation of Riverbank Filtration at our second treatment plant. The group will come back to the Board with additional information. At that time a decision will be made regarding moving forward with the project.    Because the water is naturally filtered, it requires less treatment. The process eliminates taste and odor issues, provides an additional barrier for pathogen removal and creates a stable water temperature of around 55-degrees, resulting in fewer main breaks in the distribution system. To collect the ground water for the BE Payne plant, Louisville Water designed and constructed a mile-and-half-long tunnel in bedrock, 150 feet below the ground surface and parallel to the Ohio River. Above the tunnel, four wells collect the filtered water then send the water to the tunnel. An above ground pump station pulls the water to the surface to the treatment plant.  A similar tunnel system and wells would be required for a second Riverbank Filtration project     Louisville Water employees stand inside a Riverbank Filtration intake tunnel