Equipment and procedure testing underway at facility, operations planned to begin in early June

Crews are on track with equipment and procedure testing at the forthcoming drinking water plant for the Ralls County Public Water Supply District (PWSD) #1. Members of the Board of Directors talked about plans to begin producing drinking water by June during the regular meeting Tuesday, April 23.

District Engineer Mark Bross discussed the latest steps in testing and construction for the facility located near the intersection of U.S. 61 and Route W. District crew members began testing equipment Wednesday with an aerator, and a full hydraulic test is planned in the next couple weeks.

Bross said that chemical feed levels for disinfectant were being adjusted using simulation tests with jars and filter paper, and construction crews were set to complete a final 900-foot section of the water main to the facility by mid-May.

Bross said that dozens of pieces of equipment would be tested in the coming weeks, with several items requiring water for the process. Once the water main is completed, raw water can be pumped to the plant from the district's wells. At that stage, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will test the water to assure it meets standards before the plant begins producing drinking water for customers.

Bross said more than 20 equipment startups at the plant are among the final steps before the plant is fully operational — some pieces of equipment require several days to test, and specialized training accompany each item.

“We're getting really close,” he said. “It's pretty exciting. ... The next three to four weeks will get us through all that stuff. It just takes a while.”

In other business:

Lucas Drullinger, Alliance local manager, provided an operations update with the Board of Directors. Crew members are continuing with water treatment training at the lime softening plant in Elsberry. Training also included a Missouri Rural Water Association certification course and a Missouri Department of Natural Resources Water Treatment lab course. District Attorney Mark Piontek shared an update regarding an early buyout from an escrow account containing $405,000. Ralls County PWSD #1 and the Hannibal Board of Public Works (HBPW) reached a settlement in February 2018. HBPW currently sells water to the district wholesale, and a rate dispute was settled with an escrow account set to pay out across six years. Piontek contacted HBPW Finance Director Abraham Gray about an early buyout at the account's current valuation of $339,981, and he said Gray was receptive to the plan. Piontek will prepare a draft for closing out the account in time for the Board of Directors meeting in May.

trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com