Riverbank Filtration Tunnel and Pump Station
Louisville, Kentucky United States
Drinking Water and Wastewater
Louisville Water Company
The Riverbank Filtration Tunnel and Pump Station project at the B.E. Payne Treatment Plant has been developed to exceed new regulations required by the Safe Drinking Water Act that will take effect in 2012. Riverbank Filtration (RBF) is a "green supply" purification process that uses the natural filtering processes of the riverbank to remove many of the particles and contaminants from the raw river water, which produces 70 million gallons of clean water each day. The Louisville Water Company is the first water utility in the world to combine a gravity tunnel with wells as a source for drinking water.
Triple Bottom Line
Economic: This $55-million dollar project was designed to save money because the naturally filtered water requires less treatment and the stable water temperature results in fewer water main breaks.
Environmental: Water from the Ohio River is filtered through the natural sand and gravel of the riverbank and then is pumped into the plant for additional treatment. RBF provides an additional barrier for pathogen removal such as cryptosporidium and giardia, reduces risks associated with hazardous chemical spills, removes herbicides and pesticides in the water, and eliminates problems caused by Zebra mussels and Asiatic clams clogging water intakes. The RBF process offers benefits such as low disinfection by-products in the finished water.
Social: Planners worked closely with the local community to find a solution that would preserve the aesthetics of the neighborhood. Since River Road is part of a National Scenic Byway with historic homes along the river, the decision to use a deep underground tunnel to collect the water as opposed to above-ground standard vertical wells was important.
Charles Absher, Senior Water Resources Engineer
Jordan, Jones & Goulding, Inc