LEWIS & CLARK WATER IS FLOWING
After nearly thirty years of planning and waiting, water from the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System (LCRWS) finally began flowing through the Worthington Public Utilities (WPU) water distribution system on May 6. With the completion of the Nobles County Reservoir, located just west of Worthington, we gained access to our full reserved capacity of 1,904,000 gallons per day beginning May 13.
LCRWS is designed to deliver nearly 45 million gallons of water per day (MGD) to its twenty member systems. Worthington is the 15th connected member with four members in Iowa and one member in South Dakota still waiting to be hooked up. LCRWS water originates from a series of wells along the Missouri River near Vermillion, South Dakota, and is treated at a plant near Vermillion before being delivered to member systems. The project was designed to be expandable to 60 MGD. The decision to expand will come once the original system construction is complete and all twenty members are connected. When the system is expanded Worthington’s reserved capacity will increase from 1.904 MGD to 3.011 MGD.
In preparation to begin receiving water from Lewis & Clark (L&C), WPU constructed a new high service pump station at our water treatment plant. In addition to replacing aging infrastructure that was reaching the end of its useful life, the pump station also serves as the point where L&C water is blended with the water we are producing locally. Presently approximately 50% of the water being delivered through the WPU distribution system comes from L&C and approximately 50% is produced locally. We plan on maintaining this blending ratio as closely as possible in order to deliver a consistent water quality. L&C water is much softer than the water produced locally so blending the two has resulted in significantly softer water being delivered to our customers. Prior to the introduction of L&C water, the hardness of Worthington’s water was around 27 grains per gallon. With the current blending ratio the hardness has dropped to around 17 grains. Customers may want to consider making adjustments to their water softeners to take advantage of this change.
Lewis & Clark is an asset that will serve our community for generations to come. The Worthington community has a long history of limited water resources and this new source brings with it the possibility for new opportunities. Our community has developed a water conservation mentality out of necessity and, even with the arrival of Lewis & Clark, WPU customers are encouraged to maintain that conservation mentality and to use our precious water resources wisely!