The water treatment plant on the banks of the Cumberland River off Highway 109 has been treating water for Gallatin since 1964 (water treatment in the area dates back to 1924). It later expanded to become the source of water for both the town of Westmoreland and the Castalian Springs / Bethpage Utility District. Contractors at the plant recently completed improvements to the facility that doesn’t change the quality of the water, but dramatically reduces the dangers of using chlorine gas to disinfect the water supply.
The process used to purify water is much the same as it was decades ago. A series of settling tanks are used with chemicals like coagulants, chlorine, and activated carbon to remove particles and bacteria from the water. Chlorine was injected into water using chlorine gas stored in large cylinders. If an accidental release had ever occurred, evacuation of large areas of the city would have been required.
“This was cutting-edge technology in the industry for decades, but with this new equipment we’re eliminating the risks to our employees and the community from an accidental discharge or even the unthinkable act of terrorism,” said Public Utilities Superintendent David Gregory.
A new process of adding chlorine was implemented in March of 2016. Liquid chlorine is produced on-site in a chemical process called electrolysis where direct electrical current is sent through salt water. The resulting solution is a very low concentration of bleach making it easily contained, harmless if spilled, and without dangerous vapors.
City officials conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate completion of the new bleach-generation equipment, plus the modernization of a five-million-gallon storage tank on Long Hollow Pike. City contractors installed an electronic valve to the tank allowing them to automatically lower and raise water levels without the need for staff to manually open and close tank valves every two days. Water in the tanks must be rotated regularly to keep from stagnating.
“We are very lucky to have a reliable source of water, and I’ve seen firsthand how passionate our Public Utility employees are when it comes to water quality,” said Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown. “I’m also very proud of our city’s long-standing record of meeting or exceeding state and federal water quality standards”
Water quality is
continuously monitored and tested thousands of times each year by both a
private testing lab in Mount Juliet and by the state certified lab at
Gallatin’s water treatment plant. Gallatin was given a 99% score on a
recent Sanitary Survey by the Tennessee Department of Environment and
Conservation, which evaluates the water treatment and distribution
system. Gallatin also rates highly on the state required Consumer
Confidence Report, showing state and federal water quality levels for
contaminants like lead, copper, nitrates, and turbidity (water
particulates) meet or exceed state and federal standards for purity.