Water softening improvements nearly completed in northern Warren County

The$15.1 million expansion of the Franklin Area Water Treatment Plant is nearing completion on Shelly Street in Franklin Twp. The new expansion will use a state of the art technology to soften the water and enable Warren County Water & Sewer Customers to eliminate their home water softening systems. The new nanofiltration membrane softening technology will reduce water hardness by 55%, county officials said. CONTRIBUTED/WARREN COUNTY WATER & SEWER
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The$15.1 million expansion of the Franklin Area Water Treatment Plant is nearing completion on Shelly Street in Franklin Twp. The new expansion will use a state of the art technology to soften the water and enable Warren County Water & Sewer Customers to eliminate their home water softening systems. The new nanofiltration membrane softening technology will reduce water hardness by 55%, county officials said. CONTRIBUTED/WARREN COUNTY WATER & SEWER

Some northern Warren County water customers, primarily in townships, should be able to stop using home water softening systems in late February.

For the past year, Warren County has been upgrading the water softening systems as part of $37.4 million in expansions at its Franklin Area and Richard A. Renneker Water Treatment Plants, according to Chris Brausch, Warren County sanitation engineer.

“This has been the number one request from our customers to improve our level of service,” Brausch said. “This is also the single largest water endeavor the county has ever pursued.”

He said many water systems in the region, such as Dayton, Cincinnati, Middletown, Hamilton, and Western Water, have softer water than the Warren County water system. The goal of the project is to reduce water hardness to where residents will not have to operate home water softening systems. Harder water can wear out water heaters and other appliances faster.

Chris Wojnicz, deputy water director, said the two projects are nearing completion and are under budget. He said the cost of the projects were $15.1 million for the Franklin plant, and $22.3 million for the Richard W. Renneker plant near the Little Miami River for a total of $37.4 million, which is far less than the $54 million originally estimated.

Wojnicz said a nanomembrane softening system in a new building will physically capture and remove small molecules and polyvalent ions, including calcium and magnesium ions that are the main components for water hardness.

The state-of-the-art technology will not have to add sodium or other chemicals to the water treatment, Wojnicz said. He said the process to decrease the hardness will be done incrementally and should be completed by the end of February 2022.

The upgrades will result in a grains per gallon decrease of approximately 55%, dropping water hardness for over 30,000 customers served by these two locations. Brausch said the project is funded through cash reserves as well as a low-interest $15.3 million loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority.

ExploreWarren County to spend $62 million on softened water system

“People prefer soft water because it does not impact appliances such as refrigerators, hot water heaters and dishwashers,” Brausch said.

However, Wojnicz said there is also a point when water is too soft and that could affect copper piping. He said once the plant begins softening the water, residents with home softening units can eventually retire them.

Wojnicz said water customers can temporarily put their systems in a bypass mode for a few weeks to determine if they need their water to be softened further. He said residents who choose to keep their water softening system after February will need to have it recalibrated to account for the softer water being supplied.

Expansion of the Franklin Area Water Treatment Plant, located on Shelly Street in Franklin Twp., is nearing completion and it should begin operations in January. That plant produces water for Clearcreek, Franklin, Turtlecreek and Wayne townships; a portion of Deerfield Twp. north of Bethany Road; and portions of Middletown, Corwin, Harveysburg and Hunter.

It does not include municipalities that have their own water systems, such as Franklin, Springboro, Lebanon, and Waynesville.

Springboro City Council has authorized staff to begin the process of designing a new Water Softening Plant for city-wide water softening, according to Springboro City Manager Chris Pozzuto. He said design will begin in late 2022 or early 2023.

Franklin City Manager Jonathan Westendorf said there are no plans at this time to soften water in the Franklin city water system in the short term.

The Renneker plant services other customers in southern Warren County that are not served by nearby municipal water systems.

Wojnicz said in addition to the plant expansions, the county is also working on a project to enlarge its water transmission mains over the next three to four years at a cost of more than $9 million. He said the project is expected to be completed by 2025, when the county’s contract with Greater Cincinnati Water Works expires.


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