The facility that provides most of the Cincinnati's tap water will soon unveil a $30 million upgrade to the water treatment process.
The process uses state-of-art technology partially powered by the sun.
Up to 240 million gallons of water can be treated each day at the Greater Cincinnati Water Works facility in eight ultraviolet reactor units using a process that's very similar to sunshine.
Assistant Superintendent Bruce Whitteberry says inside the reactors are a series of 20,000 watt UV bulbs.
"That UV light emitted by those light bulbs is what actually sterilizes the micro organisms," he said.
Whitteberry says UV light is highly effective at removing the cyclosporidium bacteria, which can cause diarrhea or even death. UV light is considered the best in water purification, but it's only part of the process.
"We have treatment systems to remove particles, along with those particles a lot of the disease organisms are removed also. We have sand filtration. We have granular activated carbon, which is a process that a lot of utilities don't have," said Whitteberry.
Chlorine is also added. He tells FOX19, "I think this is probably safer than mountain spring water, and I drink the water straight from my tap, and I encourage everyone else as well."
The decision to add UV purification followed years of research, and it's relatively inexpensive. Some of the power for the UV reactors comes from the sun.
"We have solar panels, about 198 panels on the roof of this building and that will save us about $138,000 a year give or take. We hope even more," he said.
The ultraviolet disinfection process costs each water customer about 30 cents per month which is a bargain for arguably the cleanest water in the nation.
Greater Cincinnati Water Works will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the UV Treatment Project on Thursday, October 3.
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