Louisville Water completed the Riverbank Filtration Project at its B.E. Payne Treatment Plant in December 2010. The project is unique because Louisville Water is the first water utility in the world to combine a gravity tunnel with wells as a source for drinking water.
Riverbank Filtration is a “green supply” using the sand and gravel in the earth as a natural filter. To collect the ground water, Louisville Water designed and constructed a mile-and-half-long tunnel in bedrock, 150 feet below the ground surface and parallel to the Ohio River. Above the tunnel, four wells collect the filtered water then send the water to the tunnel. An above ground pump station pulls the water to the surface to the treatment plant. Louisville Water can pump up to 70 million gallons of water a day with the riverbank filtration project.
Because the water is naturally filtered, it requires less treatment. The process eliminates taste and odor issues, provides an additional barrier for pathogen removal and creates a stable water temperature of around 55-degrees, resulting in fewer main breaks in the distribution system.
The American Society of Civil Engineers honored Louisville Water Company with its 2011 “Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award” for its Riverbank Filtration Project. The engineering society presented the award to Louisville Water and its engineering consultant Jordan, Jones & Goulding during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 2011.
Established in 1960, the award honors projects that best illustrate superior civil engineering skills and represent a significant contribution to civil engineering progress and society. The riverbank filtration project was one of five engineering feats nominated. The other finalists included: the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, the Incheon Bridge Project in the Republic of Korea, the Taum Sauk Upper Reservoir Rebuild Project in Annapolis, Missouri and the Washington Dulles International Airport Main Terminal Station, Washington, D.C.
“Louisville Water has a 150-year history of innovation that advances the science of drinking water,” said Greg Heitzman, President and CEO of Louisville Water. “This honor is another example of our commitment to providing high-quality, safe drinking water. I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of our employees."
This is the second time the American Society of Civil Engineers has honored Louisville Water. The historic Louisville Water Tower is listed as a Civil Engineering Landmark.