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Water Department Mission - Benton Utilities Water Department’s Mission is to protect the water resource, treat the water to ensure that it is safe and clean, upgrade and maintain the distribution system to provide an ample supply of safe clean drinking water to residents and businesses at an affordable price.
About the Water Department – The Benton Utilities Water Dept. serves residential, commercial, industrial and master-metered customers in the City of Benton and Saline County. The Public Utilities Commissioners and employees of the department are dedicated to high system integrity and exceptional customer service. Continuing education for our employees, in the field of water purification and water distribution prepares us to meet current and future federal and state regulation and provide for the future water supply needs for the City of Benton.
In order to maintain a continual supply of water to our customers, the Water Distribution System personnel are responsible for the repair, maintenance and installation of meters, services, mains, fire hydrants and valves while the Water Purification personnel works continuously to insure a safe and potable drinking water supply is readily available to all customers.
At the Benton Water Purification Plant, we strive to meet all rules and regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Act. Up until this time, I think we have been very successful in this endeavor. It is our goal, to provide the Citizens in Benton and the outlying areas of Saline County with the best water possible. This has been our goal since the middle of 1916, and will continue to be our goal for many years to come. The Public Utilities Commissioners and employees of this department are dedicated to excellent water quality and exemplary regulatory compliance, and our personnel work 24 hours a day/7 days a week to ensure this.
There are three major components in a public water system:
(1) Water Source or Supply (2) Water Purification and (3) Water Distribution
The Benton Utilities Water Purification Plant is responsible for the first two components. The first is the source of water supply, which is usually a river, a lake, reservoir, or a combination of them. The second is purification facilities that settle, filter, and chemically purify raw water to comply with the Federal standards in the Safe Drinking Water Act. The third is the distribution system made up of the networks of mostly underground pipes that carry water to homes, business and other customers.
Plant Information – The treatment plant is a conventional surface water treatment plant with a capacity 13 million gallons per day (mgd). The water produced meets and exceeds all Safe Drinking Water Standards. The normal daily flow is approximately 5 mgd average with a maximum flow to date is 10.75 mgd.
Laboratory - Our lab has the ability to run TOC, Chlorine, Ph, Turbidity, Alkalinity and many other water tests, and this testing is completed every 4 hours 24 hours a day.
SCADA System – Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System, this system enables us to control the plant, pumps, and water tanks. It has the capabilities of remotely opening the gates at Lake Norrell, from the plant. It also maintains a complete historical log of functions pertaining to these operations
Water Tanks – Total capacity 4,225,000 gallons of treated water in six water storage tanks.
The Water Purification Process
Benton Water Purification Plant uses conventional treatment at its water treatment plants. The treatment processes include coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection. Raw water from the Saline River, Lake Norrell and the Chenault Reservoir flows to the Benton Purification Plant.
The water first arrives at the purification plants two holding ponds, where powdered activated carbon is added for taste and odor removal. Water then flows to the upflow clarifiers where the water and chemicals are gently mixed to form "floc", which consist of agglomerations of suspended particles such as silt, bacteria, and algae. The water then flows into the sedimentation area where most of the "floc" settles out and is removed from the water. The water then flows downward through filters of sand and anthracite where any remaining "floc" particles are removed. Before and after filtration, chlorine is added for disinfection.
Finally, fluoride is added for the prevention of cavities in children's teeth and phosphate for minimizing corrosion in the distribution system piping.
All processes are monitored 24 hours a day by a licensed operator. Testing is completed every 4 hours by these operators and logged for Arkansas Department of Health reporting.
Service Area – The service area of the water distribution system includes most of the area within the boundaries of the City Limits of Benton excluding a couple new subdivisions known as Hurricane Meadows and The Oaks off Scott-Salem Rd. We also provide water services to customers in the Northgate Subdivision off of Salt Creek Rd. and the areas east and west of the northern section of Alcoa including Boone Rd all the way to Hurricane Creek as well as provide wholesale water to several water associations including Salem, Southwest, and the City of Bauxite.
Hydrants – This division works closely with the Benton Fire Department to maintain the fire hydrants throughout the city. Recently, we have installed several new hydrants. We are currently servicing and maintaining over 890 fire hydrants in our system
Water Valves – This division maintains approximately 1500 water valves throughout the system. These are used to reroute water or shut water flow down in the event of an emergency.
Water Mains – This division is responsible for maintaining all mail lines that provides service to our customers as well as install any new mains. With breaks due to construction in the area and natural ground movement, repairs are required. While we aren’t able to anticipate these leaks, we try to make repairs in a timely fashion.
Services – All residential and commercial customers have a service ran to their meter. Typically, when a new subdivision or strip mall is built, they will run these from the main to a meter box on the property where a meter installation is all that is required to complete our portion of the customer’s service. When a service is installed at an address where there isn’t a meter box, it requires a tap on a main by our department then the service is run from the tap.
The Benton Water Department uses a combination of water sources to meet the needs of our City. We use Lake Norrell, the Saline River, Chenault Reservoir and holding ponds to meet daily needs and peak demands of our customers.
Lake Norrell – In April of 1953, the construction was completed. It is a 280 acre lake built by Benton Plumbing Company and Jeffery-Lawrence & Tilley of Fort Smith. It cost approximately $300,000 to construct, and it stores 2.5 billion gallons of water. Lake Norrell is located upstream 17 miles from the City of Benton and water flows by gravity through the Saline River channel to the intake at Benton.
Saline River – There are pumps ranging in size from 100 HP to 300 HP located at the river, and they provide water to Chenault Reservoir or to the holding ponds. The spillway is located just downstream from the pumps which serve sort of like a dam to prevent the water from flowing away so quickly enhancing our pumps ability to function.
Chenault Reservoir – This is an off-Stream Raw Water Storage Reservoir that is intended to hold 120-day supply of water supplying 12 million gallons per day. It was constructed in 1999 by Saline Crushing.