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YP’S: Pennsylvania AWWA and New Jersey AWWA jointly hosted a facility tour of Philadelphia Water’s Queen Lane Water Treatment Plant in Northwest Philadelphia


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Special thanks to: Suzanne Ciavola

On Friday, April 8, 2016, the young professionals committees of the Pennsylvania AWWA and New Jersey AWWA jointly hosted a facility tour of Philadelphia Water’s Queen Lane Water Treatment Plant in Northwest Philadelphia. Over 20 young professionals attended and were provided a detailed overview of the entire plant and the water’s journey from river to tap.

The tour began at plant’s raw water reservoir. Raw water is delivered to the reservoir by a pumping station on the Schuylkill River. The reservoir, located in an elevated region of Philadelphia, offered spectacular views of the city. But this wasn’t only for the great view; the plant’s hydraulics were designed to operate on gravity alone, and the head in the reservoir is all that is needed to carry the water throughout the rest of its trip.

After a significant period of detention in the reservoir, the raw water crosses beneath Fox Street via a conduit to the Flocculation/Sedimentation tanks. Here, coagulants are added in areas of gentle mixing, followed by settling. The clarity of the water is now in single digit NTU values.

Next, the water travels back under Fox Street to the filters, where water flows downward through a mixture of several media and receives its final cleaning. The most eventful part of the tour occurred when the group was given a demonstration of a filter backwash. As influent and effluent valves were closed off and a drain valve opened, the water level in one of the filters dropped drastically and the gravity-fed backwash cycle began. After a few minutes of surface agitation, the backwash began in earnest, and not-so-clean water started pouring out and over the walls of the filter. A few minutes later the water was running clear and the tank slowly transitioned back to normal operations.

The final stop of the tour was appropriately the finished water basins where ready- to-drink water is stored. As tour-goers peered through the access hatch into the dark covered basin, it was easy to completely miss the water and see only the bottom of the basin. Not until the light catches a few ripples is it clear that that the water is exceptionally clear and fit to drink.

After leaving the plant, tour-goers convened at a local restaurant for a happy hour networking event hosted by the YP committees.

If you are interested in attending a future YP Committee event, have an idea for a future event or would like to assist in planning a future event please contact the following committee chairs.

PA-AWWA YP Committee Chair and Vice Chair
Suzanne Ciavola

Ralph R. Wawrzyniakowski
NJ-AWWA YP Committee Chair and Vice Chair
Jordan Spitzer-London

Brian Van Nortwick



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