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      Reverse osmosis now cleaning Ft. Madison's water

      Discussions about a new water treatment plant in Ft. Madison began all the way back in 2004.

      At that time it was unknown whether it would be better to revamp the old plant or start all over and build new.

      Either way several goals had to be met.

      The plant needed to be out of the flood plain, meet DNR standards and raise capacity.

      It also had to get rid of homeland security issues as residents actually had to drive through the old plant to get to their homes.

      After many discussions and studies it was decided a new plant was the way to go.

      And as KHQA's Jarod Wells shows you, the new plant meets all those goals.

      Ft. Madison Mayor Steve Ireland said, "It's going to bring very healthy, clean, potable water to the city of Ft. Madison for the next 100 years."

      Clean indeed. The water will put through a process called reverse osmosis. It is becoming the new norm, but the setup in Ft. Madison's plant is one of the larger versions.

      Ft. Madison Water Services Director Larry Dinwiddie said, "It's like a micro-filtration. It's real fine filters that water is forced through it and all the contaminants are help up in those.

      This plant will also be able to provide more water. The old plant had a capacity of 3.8 million gallons, which in some summers was nearly reached.

      Dinwiddie said, "The current capacity of this plant is 5 million. We built it to be expandable. We bought 120 acres, we put in 5 wells, we have room for 3 more wells. And all the piping in this plant is built to go from 5 to 8 million."

      The plant has been pumping water to area residents for about a month now. And Mayor Steve Ireland hopes it also will pump more jobs and economic growth to the area.

      Ireland said, "It's well positioned down in the bottom area at the west limits of Ft. Madison. So any industry or factory that would be looking into Ft. Madison would have that infrastructure right along with the four lane highway. So it's very well connected."

      The total cost of the project was $22 million.

      About $7 million of that came from state and federal funds.