By the mid-2010s, growth and development were beginning to strain, and would soon surpass, the capacity of Blaine’s water treatment infrastructure. The city experienced two water outages over a five-week span in 2017, forcing school closures, triggering water-boiling advisories, and eroding residents’ confidence in the city’s water supply. In response, city leaders prioritized water system improvements and construction of Water Treatment Plant 4 (WTP4), a higher-capacity facility that would treat groundwater from four new well fields supplying the public potable water system.
The city hired Barr Engineering Co. to provide concept development, piloting, design, bidding, and construction services for WTP4. Expediting the project timeline to address the ongoing threat of water outages, Barr partnered with Bolton & Menk to design a facility that can treat 6,000 gallons per minute, employs leading-edge sustainability practices, and restores public trust in the city’s water supply.
WTP4, which became operational in the summer of 2021, includes aeration, iron and manganese dual media gravity filtration, chemical feed, lamella plate settler for backwash recovery, and high-service pumping. The facility also maximizes water efficiency with additional considerations toward environmentally conscious and sustainable facility and site design. Stakeholder input helped inform a design that promoted a host of sustainability features, including maximum backwash water reuse (99% recovery) with a lamella clarifier; energy-efficient lighting and pumping; green roofs; rooftop solar energy panels; reuse of rooftop rainwater; and green infrastructure.
The facility has restored safe, reliable water supply to one of Minnesota’s fastest-growing cities. Working within the North and East Metro Groundwater Management Area, Blaine WTP4 gives additional attention to groundwater health, environmentally friendly water management practices, and sustainable design. Doubling the city’s water treatment capacity, this plant was completed with a community focus and is positioned to provide the City of Blaine safe and reliable drinking water into the foreseeable future.