Durham County

Who pulled the plug and let all that water out?

The 45 million gallon reservoir at the Williams Water Treatment is shown this week while being drained as part of a renovation and refurbishment process. The wrought-iron fence will be taken down, restored and reinstalled when the project is completed.
The 45 million gallon reservoir at the Williams Water Treatment is shown this week while being drained as part of a renovation and refurbishment process. The wrought-iron fence will be taken down, restored and reinstalled when the project is completed. bthomas@heraldsun.com

The plug was pulled for the first time in 100 years on the Williams Water Treatment Plant reservoir on Hillandale Road.

The iconic reservoir near Hillandale Golf Course was drained for a scheduled maintenance project, according to a news release. It took about 72 hours to empty the estimated 45 million gallons of water it holds. Construction equipment was on site and ready to move in to start the project.

The concrete apron surrounding the reservoir is being replaced. It prevents erosion of the reservoir banks.

Inside the treatment plant, filters will be upgraded and a new residual handling process will be implemented. A new generator also will be installed to provide backup power.

The plant, which opened in 1917, will be out of commission for about six months, city water management officials said. The plant treats about 22 million gallons of water daily.

Because of its age, the water plant will be refurbished in accordance with Durham Historic Preservation Commission criteria. That means the signature wrought iron fence surrounding the reservoir will be removed, repaired and stored until the project is complete. It will then be reinstalled. Other historic features also will be preserved as much as possible.

Water management officials do not expect any interruptions in water service as the Brown Water Treatment Plant, which is newer and has a greater capacity, can cover the city’s needs. In the event that additional water is needed, Durham can tap into nearby water systems, including Cary and OWASA.

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