West Virginia Rural Water Deploys Mobile Treatment Plant to Assist Community Without Water

GREEN SPRINGS, W.V – When the Central Hampshire County Public Service District was having problems filling the water tanks that serviced the town of Green Springs, they contacted the West Virginia Rural Water Association for assistance. Rural Water quickly discovered the utility was facing a more serious problem, and provided the assistance to restore the system to normal functioning.

“I was originally called in for leak detection,” explained Bertis McCarty, a circuit rider for WVRWA.

The Service District was having trouble gaining water in Green Spring tanks and it was assumed the water was lost to leaks. The utility had attempted several measures to fill the tanks, including attaching additional pumps.

“They tried a lot of makeshift solutions,” McCarty said. “They even had the fire department haul water from a neighboring community and pump it into the system.”
After two days of leak detection, McCarty and Ernie Crouse, a district operations specialist, only found a single small leak. McCarty met with Crouse and General Manager James Hoffman to discuss the system’s operations.

“They started throwing out some numbers and I was taking notes,” McCarty said. “I did some figures and a lot of the numbers just didn’t add up. I realized pretty quickly there was something else wrong.”
The Green Springs system relied on a membrane filtration plant to supply water for a population 1,100, including an elementary school. The membranes failed and the plant had shut down.
“It was actually water production,” McCarty said.

With the problem identified, the utility ordered replacement membranes. The system still needed a solution until the membrane plant could be returned to service. The WVRWA dispatched its mobile treatment plant to supply the town with water until regular service was restored. They also sent Circuit Rider Mike Hersman to help set-up and operate the mobile plant. The mobile treatment plant puts the same equipment often found in a permanent facility – pumps, filters, chlorination – onto a trailer. The mobile plant can assist when communities lose water, but it is not a long-term replacement.

“Using a mobile treatment plant, the community still had to be on a boil water order,” McCarty said.

The mobile treatment plant filled the utilities tanks and provided service until the replacement membranes were put into place. The situation also provided an opportunity to create a backup and make the system more resilient in the future.

“Green Springs and the neighboring Silver Springs are connected by a valve,” McCarty said.

With the membranes replaced, the Green Springs system was capable of supplying both communities with water. McCarty also advised that, with a pump upgrade, the Silver Springs utility could also supply both communities.

“It gives them some backup if something happens in the future,” McCarty said.