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Citizens Energy Group brings new drinking water supplies online with award-winning construction

Indianapolis is growing, and that growth is creating a higher-than-ever demand for high quality drinking water.

Morse-WTP-Const-005_G0020749-web To meet this demand, Citizens Energy Group (Citizens) looked to the past and found a new supply for the future at an old groundwater treatment plant near Morse Reservoir that was taken out of service in 2008.

“We’re always looking for new sources for water supplies, and we knew that  this aquifer existed,” said Ted Williams of Citizens. Using an existing aquifer with a known supply made a lot of sense he said. But, there was a lot of work to be done to bring this supply to Citizens’ customers.

While other contractors worked to tear down the old plant, and rehab existing wells on the site, F.A. Wilhelm Construction’s crew built a new 6,000 square-foot ground water treatment facility. This consisted of  three horizontal pressure filters, three high service pumps and a backwash pump. Wilhelm also  installed two aerators and constructed two welded steel detention tanks and a one million gallon finished water  concrete storage tank. A backwash holding tank was constructed in order to allow a controlled flow of the water used to back wash the filters to the Noblesville sewer system.

Morse-WTP-Const-023_IMG_2492.jpg-web Williams said this was a pretty fast-paced job, “We wanted to get it done before the high summer demand hit, and Wilhelm did that.” The new plant went online on April 7 and can treat up to six million gallons of drinking water per day.

Derek Carlson, Wilhelm Construction project manager, said that while the pace of the job was challenging, he enjoyed working with state-of-the-art construction techniques for this project.

Wilhelm used a post-tensioning method to build the concrete finished water and backwash storage tanks for the plant, an innovative technique that recently earned the project an award from the American Concrete Institute. Post-tensioning systems uses steel cables that run through the concrete in pairs. These cables are then pulled to create tension on the slabs, which keeps the concrete from cracking. With this technique, thinner slabs can do the same job as those built with traditional methods, resulting in lower concrete costs to build and fewer repairs down the road.

Morse-WTP-Const-021_IMG_2417-webWilliams said there were some challenges in building the plant near a residential neighborhood. He said the work hours were limited, and it was important to keep noise levels and construction traffic to a minimum – nothing Wilhelm’s crew couldn’t handle. “It can also be a challenge to keep the streets clean. Wilhelm did a very nice job with that.”

With the project now complete, Citizens invited the neighborhood to tour the new facility and learn more about its operation.

Williams said he considers the project a success and was pleased with how Wilhelm handled the job. “Wilhelm communicated well with its sub-contractors, Citizens Energy Group and the design engineer resulting in a successful project. There are other construction companies with some of the same qualities that they have, but there aren’t a lot of them out there. Wilhelm is part an elite group of companies.”

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