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Thomas Clatterbuck

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Water is the most basic and critical recourse for a community. Clean, abundant water is a blessing. Not having water spells doom. After a flash flood in 2011 knocked the Jacksonville water treatment plant offline for weeks, the city knew it needed to upgrade. Now, seven years and 37 million dollars later, Jacksonville has a state-of-the-art water treatment plant.

This new facility took two and a half years to build, and should last the city far into the future. The plant was built to the strict EPA standards to ensure safety for both workers and the water customers. Computerization allows the plant to be operated with a very small team in the off-peak overnight hours. However, manual backups ensure that the staff can work all of the systems by hand if necessary. Most importantly, it is not built in a floodplain, so it should be safe from any flash floods.

Today was a day to celebrate the new plant, but the developers were already planning for future maintenance needs. The plant has many areas where this forward-thinking is on display. Three sedimentation basins will make it much easier to rotate them out for maintenance. When the old plant only had two, taking one offline for cleaning was difficult. Windows near the chemical tanks can be removed, so changing out the 5,000 gallon tanks will not require tearing down walls. In the basement, an overhead crane was installed to assist with moving heavy pipes without destroying the ceiling. It may not be used for 20 years, but future workers will be glad they have it. Even something a simple as putting heating elements under north-facing stairs was considered. Removing snow and ice only needs to save the city one workman’s comp claim to be cost-effective.

Water quality in Jacksonville was always high, and this will only continue with the new plant. The plant can draw water from two sources: wells and the nearby lakes. However, most of the city’s water comes from the wells. Residents may not notice an increase in water quality, but this is because Jacksonville already enjoyed some of the best water in the nation.

Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

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Springfield Police’s “Bridging the Gap” BBQ this weekend

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PRESS RELEASE | The Outlet in partnership with the Springfield Police Department invite the community this Saturday, September 22 for the annual Bridging the Gap BBQ. This free, family-friendly event will take place at Jaycee Park, 2400 E. Monroe Street, from 12-noon to 3:00 p.m.  This event brings the community, law enforcement and first responders together for an afternoon of food, fellowship and fun for the entire family.

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LIVE | Springfield City Council meeting September 18th

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Follow along live with the Springfield City Council meeting. The mayor’s youth council is being presented to the city council.

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LIVE | Public Utilities Committee Meeting September 17th

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Follow along live with the CWLP Public Utilities Meeting. They will be discussing CWLP’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), as well as other business.

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