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How Concrete Helps Provide Clean Water

Leesburg, VA – How does concrete aid in the quality of public drinking water? Well, let us tell you. Mike Allen from Swopes and Associates and Brian Dulaney from Titan America organized a tour of the new Water Treatment plant in Leesburg, Virginia.

The Potomac River will supply the plant with water. I bet Matt couldn't catch a fish in that river either.

The Potomac River will supply the plant with water. I bet Matt couldn’t catch a fish in that river either.

Due to its proximity to Washington D.C. and its beautiful scenery, Loudoun County is one of the fastest growing counties in America. Currently Loudoun is buying water from neighboring Fairfax County to meet its demand. To fix this, the county approved the construction of a 20 million gallon per day water treatment plant (designed to be upgradable to 60 million gallons per day) feeding from the nearby Potomac River by PC construction, based out of Vermont. This massive plant requires 36,000 yards of concrete which supports roughly 90 percent of its structure. The concrete supplied by Titan American uses Sika Viscocrete-2100 for strength and Sika Viscoflow-2020 for workability.

Water from the river is pulled through a pumping station into an operation facility for chemical and solid filtration. The complex filtration process is rather interesting. Water passes through filter media, such as granular activated carbon (GAC) and sand, to remove impurities. Polymer binding agents will then attach to solids which to the bottom and are removed. Sulfuric acid, ozone, and ferric compounds take care of remaining chemical impurities. This facility actually uses Sodium hydrochlorate instead of chlorines as it is more environmentally friendly. The resulting water is crystal clear and safe to drink.

The water passes through large basins with walls anywhere between 8 inches to 2 feet thick. Tie holes in these walls are necessary for pipes to deliver chemicals and handle recycle streams. PC construction uses SikaTop Plus Patching to waterproof these tie holes, as well as Sikadur-Combiflex. As you can imagine, these products need to be able to resist a lot of water pressure. The clean water sits in 2 clear wells that each hold 2.4 million gallons. These clear wells were formed using shotcrete. Shotcrete uses compressed air forces to pump concrete through nozzle onto a surface at a high velocity. Sounds pretty fun. The water is then passes through underground pipes all across the county to provide the fresh water supplies needed. Ryan from PC construction told us the project has been going smoothly and formal testing should being June 2017.

Want to know more about solutions for water treatment? Click here

Also, check out PC Constructions’ blog or send them a tweet at @_pcconstruction.

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