Lime Slaker - Putnam Sentinel
The new lime slaker at the Ottawa Water Treatment Plant. (photo submitted)

OTTAWA – Last month, to start 2018 off right, the Ottawa Village Council positioned the Ottawa Treatment Plant to be in compliance with the OEPA requirements. Several new pieces of equipment will be installed this year starting with the lime slakers, each costing about $170,000. One of them has just been installed and the second one will be seeking approval for purchase at the next scheduled council meeting slated for the twelfth of this month to replace the aging equipment that had been used since the 1980’s. A mandate was given to the Village of Ottawa in 2017, according to Doug Schroeder, the village’s water treatment plant director to replace the aged lime slakers. Schroeder also commented, the plant employees have been exceptional at fixing the old equipment, but it has gotten much more difficult as time goes by.

Since 1972, Ottawa Treatment Plant operators have been stretching every dollar and drop of water they can from the 40 plus year-old equipment. Collectively, they have extended the functional expectations of that equipment well past the estimated 10 to 15 year life cycle. Plant Director Doug Schroeder stated that the original lime slakers had been replaced in the 1980’s with used ones from a different plant. Those used lime slakers had functioned well past their equipment end of life cycle. Ottawa Municipal Director Jack Williams through the Ottawa Village Council approved the expenditure as part of OEPA requirements for the Ottawa Treatment Plant.

Schroeder said they are absolutely critical to the plant infrastructure because the resulting lime and ferric Chloride mixture in simple terms creates a molecular filter which settles out particulates from water molecules clarifying the water. How do they function? Lime slakers are an important part of the water purification process that keeps our drinking water clean and pure. Above each slaker is a storage tank where lime is added. The lime flows from the tank into the machine. Mixed with water in the machine the lime is added to make a watery paste solution that generates heat due to the chemical reaction. When ferric chloride is mixed with the incoming raw water stream along with this watery paste solution, the resulting mixture gets transferred into a pool of water in the massive water clarification room. Chemco Systems, Inc. oversaw the installation at the Ottawa Water Treatment Plant. Installation included the one new piece of equipment, some additional new piping and slight reshaping of the bottom cone of the storage tank to install an oscillation unit designed to prevent clogging. One very time consuming and often frustrating problem with the old slaker was the amount of time they spent unclogging the unit.