Survey calls out efficiencies of water treatment plant

A recent survey conducted by neighboring water providers found that Grand Haven residents can be proud of the operations of their water treatment facility. Based on survey results, Grand Haven and the Northwest Ottawa Water System are effectively and efficiently providing safe and reliable drinking water - reported Joe VanderStel, water facilities manager for NOWS.
Alex Doty
Oct 24, 2011

The results are based on actions taken this past summer when the city of Holland’s Water Filtration Plant was approached by its administrative staff during budget approvals to provide a water treatment plant utility survey in an effort to compare water plant staffing levels with other facilities. The survey provides the foundation of information for Holland and others to discuss possible privatization or staff reductions.

According to VanderStel, only seven facilities participated — leaving it difficult to get a true perspective of overall cost and staff levels, as each treatment plant has different rated capacities and incorporates various techniques for water treatment.

“You’ve got different facilities doing different treatments at different capacities, and they’ve got different chemicals,” VanderStel said.

At Grand Haven, results showed that NOWS has 7.1 employees on staff, and it indicated that it cost $161.96 per million gallons treated at the NOWS facility in labor costs. Other numbers indicated that, in total, it cost $325.42 per million gallons treated when factoring in labor, chemical costs and power costs.

According to VanderStel, one of the advantages of the Grand Haven facility is that it’s a direct-filtration facility.

“We’ve got a very simple process here,” he said.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, in cooperation with the Michigan Section of the American Water Works Association, presented the Edward Dunbar Rich Service Award to VanderStel and water plant crew leader Jim Dupont. The award is presented to those who’ve completed 25 or more years of service in providing and maintaining a safe, dependable and adequate public water supply.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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