In order to continue to provide quality water and meet new state and federal regulations, the Columbia Water Company turned to BH to meet their needs for their Walnut Street Water Treatment Plant. The three-year, multiphase project provided new filtering and processing procedures to treat more than 1.93 MGD of drinking water and more than 708 million gallons annually.
Several of the structures are original to the 1849 facility. While the location of the plant along the Susquehanna River is ideal for meeting the town’s water requirement, it also makes it vulnerable to periodic flooding. To help prevent damage from rising water and floating ice, equipment is located above the flood plain and a reinforced flood wall protects the plant from damaging floes. Confined spaces located below the flood plain were designed with blow out panels, which allow water pressure to equalize preventing damage. Flood barriers were employed in areas where chemical storage tanks had to be located on ground level.
Providing solutions to meet concerns of rising flood waters was in addition to meeting the local Historic Architectural Review Board. The existing facility is located in the Historic District and is required to meet the Borough’s Historic District Ordinance. BH integrated the new structures with existing buildings that are more than 150 years old. Brick corbeling, brick arch openings, copper flashing, and simulated slate roofing were used to preserve the character of the historic water plant.
The project successfully blends new technology and construction techniques with historic structures to provide a vital resource to Borough residents. The project is a local showpiece for historic renovation projects and a resource for flood plain design solutions.