Efforts to improve water quality at the Newark Reservoir by installing a new aeration and mixing system will begin on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. While the upgrades will not impact access to or the quality of drinking water supplied by the City of Newark, residents and businesses in the area may notice a strong odor during the installation process.
"Because the reservoir is supplied by a pipeline and not via a stream, the water is relatively static and can experience varying levels in temperature, increased algae growth, unpleasant odors and color," said Tom Coleman, director of Public Works and Water Resources (PWWR) department. "By installing a fine bubble aeration and mixing system, we'll address these issues and ensure a greater supply of the water is consistently available for use."
Biannually, the 317 million gallon reservoir experiences "seasonal turnover" where the cooler, denser water displaces the deeper, warmer water. The turnover results in low dissolved oxygen and elevated hydrogen sulfide (i.e. "rotten egg" odor) levels throughout the water column and, at times, renders a significant portion of the water unable to be treated. The installation of multiple aeration disks at predetermined areas along the bottom of the reservoir will result in:
This will be the first time the reservoir has been fully mixed since its inception, increasing the likelihood of unpleasant "rotten egg" odors being emitted during the mixing process. The PWWR department expects any potential odors to last no longer than 3 to 5 days. City personnel will actively monitor the air quality to ensure all levels of hydrogen sulfide are safe.
Note: The Newark Reservoir is an untreated water supply pumped from the White Clay Creek. All water from the reservoir is filtered and treated at the City's Curtis Water Treatment Plant prior to distribution and consumption. The City does not to intend to treat the reservoir water until proper mixing is completed. Residents with questions or concerns regarding this process should contact the PWWR department at 302-366-7000.