Natrona County’s drinking water is taken from the North Platte River and is treated at the Central Wyoming Regional Water System (RWS) with the primary disinfectant being ozone. The facility produces up to 25 million gallons of water per day. RWS uses chloramines as their secondary disifectant to keep bacteria from growing in the delivery system, including the pipes in your house.
At the RWS plant, after raw water is drawn from a well field that’s under the influence of the river, water is filtered and then ozone is used as their primary disinfectant.
Ozone is used because it’s better at killing giardia and other protozoan parasites like cryptosporidium (crypto) than chlorine. Protozoan parasites have hard outside surfaces. When chlorine is used in the process it requires longer contact times to kill bacteria.
Both RWS’ water plants is located low in the valley by the river. Once water is processed, it’s pumped uphill to high capacity tanks for storage. RWS operates 22 tanks. The system of high capacity tanks sits above the populations they serve and employ gravity to provide water pressure.
RWS’ water plant uses closed-system computers to operate their plants. Operators are able to gather information in real time from water flow and chemical analysis sensors, and use the computers to operate valves, introduce chemicals and automatically fill tanks. Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems are common in the industry. Because their SCADA systems are closed systems, there’s no remote access to them from the Internet and operators must be on site to manage the plant.
The cost of the RWS facility in the range of $40-$50 million not including tanks or the distribution system. Tanks start at more than $1 million. Add the cost of miles and miles of underground lines, lift pumps, taps and other plumbing to the cost of the water plant and the total cost is much higher.