The water plant uses a combination of quick lime and soda ash to soften the water. The water from the Jordan aquifer comes to the water plant with a hardness of over 450 or 26.3 grains of hardness. After the softening process the water leaves the water plant with a hardness in the range of 120 (7.01 grains) to 150 (8.77 grains). The softening process also removes Iron, Manganese, Radium and other things that are considered undesirable in your drinking water.
The water that is softened at the water plant is pumped into the distribution system. The distribution system in Webster City consists of 63 miles of water mains that range from 4 inches to 12 inches in size. These pipes are what get the water to your home or business. The city has two water towers that hold 500,000 gallons each. These are used for water storage in case of fire and to keep the water pressure up in the pipes. Besides the water towers there is also a steel 1,000,000 gallon ground storage resevior and a cement 500,000 gallon clear well. The water in these tanks is used to refill the water towers during the night while the water plant is shut down. The water plant runs 365 days a year an average of 10 hours per day Monday Thru Friday and 8 hours per day on the weekends and holidays. The water plant has four full time employees that have gone thru training to receive certificates from the IDNR that are required to work in a water plant. Each year each employee must get CEU’s to renew their certificate.
The water plant employees are required to do many different types of water samples during the year to make sure the water is safe to drink. The first of these are Coliform bacteria samples. These are the tests that are taken in other towns when you hear of them having to do a “Boil Order”. The boil order is done if they have had a bad sample. If there is a bad sample, the sample must be re-taken from the same location it was done the first time, samples must also taken upstream and downstream in the water main from the location the sample was taken from the first time. Webster City has “never” had a boil order.
Besides 9 coliform bacteria samples each month the Webster City Water Plant does many other water samples. Samples are taken for Combined Radium, Gross Alpha, Inorgainc Chemicals (IOC), Synthetic Chemicals (SOC), Volitile Chemicals (VOC), Nitrate, Sodium, Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM), Haloacetic Acids (HAA5) and Lead and Copper. Some of these tests are done each year while others have a 3, 6 or 9 year rotation.
The water plant is required to send a report to the DNR each month showing the results of tests done daily for hardness, alkalinity, Chlorine residuals, Phosphate residuals and temperature.
Each year a Consumer Confidence Report is required to be published in a way that the public can see the results of the testing done during the year. It is published in the Daily Freeman Journal for the City of Webster City.
The employees of the Webster City Water Softening Plant strive to deliver clean safe drinking water to people of Webster City for as low a cost as possible. While people think the cost of water is high, you would have to run 144 gallons of water thru your faucet to equal the cost of one 99 cent bottle of water.