About Our Water
Where Your Water Comes From?
City of Laramie drinking water is supplied from several sources that isolated from each other. This separation provides a resilient water supply. The combined peak capacity of the water supplies is 20.5 million gallons per day. The water is drawn from both the Big Laramie River and the Casper Aquifer. There are 3 major wellfields that supply Laramie, each capable of producing between 4 and 5 million gallons per. The Big Laramie River is the largest single source capable of producing 6.5 million gallons per day.
How Much Water Do We Use?
During the past 10 years the annual water consumption for Laramie is approximately 1.8 billion gallons or 4.9 million gallons per day. This down from earlier years. In 1995 we used 2.539 billion gallons or about 7 million gallons per day. In 1995 on average each person used 259 gallon per day. In 2020 each person’s average use is 141 gallons per day.
Treatment & Water Storage Information
The Laramie River is the largest single source of water. This water is treated through multiple processes in the modern water treatment plant. These processes include coagulation, flocculation, clarification, ozonation, filtration, disinfection and fluoridation.
Coagulation is a process where aluminum sulfate is added to the raw water vigorously mixed to neutralize the surface charge of the suspended particulate material in the water. This makes the particles easier to remove from the water.
Flocculation is a secondary reaction to the addition of the aluminum sulfate used in the coagulation step. The aluminum sulfate is converted to aluminum hydroxide in the coagulation step. It is insoluble in water and precipitates out of solution in the process trapping the suspended particles in the flocculant. The solution is gently mixed to maximize the contact between the flocculant and the coagulated particles.
In the clarification step the coagulated and flocculated particles are removed by gravity and the clarified water moves on to ozonation
Ozonation oxidizes organics that may be dissolved in the water and kills pathogens as it prepares the water for filtration.
In the filtration step any remaining particulate are captured and removed. Very low turbidity water is produced by Laramie dual media filters.
Disinfection kill pathogens and protects the water as it is delivered through the distribution pipes to your home.
The water from the well fields is also disinfected as it is pumped and delivered to the distribution piping. A weak chlorine bleach solution is generated at each of the four disinfection facilities and is used as the disinfectant.
Laramie has 5 finished water storage tanks. Total volume stored is 14.2 million gallons. These tanks sit at different elevations to serve different parts of the city with the proper water pressure. The water is pumped to the different pressure zones in the city by 6 different pump stations and pressure is regulated by 14 pressure regulation stations.
Monolith Ranch is where Laramie's future water is located. There are several sources of water on the Monolith Ranch. The main source is the Dowlin water rights. These are the first priority on the Big Laramie River and are equal to 12.9 million gallons per day.
Water treatment staff receive specialized training and are licensed by the State of Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality to operate and maintain the water supply, treatment, delivery systems. The performance of the staff and the water quality are regulated and monitored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. There are 6 staff members that ensure water quality standards are met by operating and maintaining the equipment, adjusting the system processes to changing environmental conditions, and testing the finished water at many locations through the systems.
The distribution crew is responsible for “maintaining” our distribution system. Maintaining means repairing broken water mains, services, valves, and fire hydrants. Another important aspect of our job is making sure all fire hydrants in our system are in good working order to provide fire protection to the entire city. Aside from maintaining our system, we also respond to all utility locate requests that are called in to Wyoming 811 (also known as OneCall of Wyoming). When we respond to these locate requests, we mark any water mains, water services up to the curb stop and meter pit, fire hydrants, and sanitary sewer mains. This is an extremely important part of our job because anytime anybody near the city of Laramie is digging, we want them to know where our water and sewer lines are so they do not hit them and cause damage to our system. Not only is this important, but it is a Law in Wyoming!
Maintenance of the wastewater collection system includes emergency repairs, system washing, root cutting, TV inspection, and manhole repairs. There are approximately 140 miles of sewer main lines in the collection system. Personnel are required to be state-certified to operate the collection system and must take regular coursework to maintain certification. Many harmful materials, such as grease, petroleum products, antifreeze, plastic bags, and other pollutants, find a way into the collection system. These items often will block sewer flows causing the flow to back into residences. It is the responsibility of all users to protect the system from abuse.
The Treatment Process
Currently, about 3.1 million gallons of wastewater per day is pumped through the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The first treatment is removal of heavier materials at the grit station. Next the water flows to oxidation ditches where microorganisms in the water are flooded with air, enabling them to grow and begin the process of digesting organic pollutants and ammonia. Microorganisms and solids are separated from water in the clarifiers. The water is disinfected by ultraviolet light and discharged to the Laramie River. A percentage of the microorganisms and solids are recycled to the oxidation ditches. This is called return activated sludge. The rest of the microorganisms and solids are pumped to digesters. This is called waste activated sludge. The digesters provide more aeration and time for microorganisms to work on the solids. Water is then decanted off the top of the digesters and returned to the beginning of the process. The solids are pumped to belt pressers and then placed on drying beds. Several times per year the dewatered sludge now called (biosolids) is hauled to city landfill. It is then mixed with green waste to make compost and is available for the public to use.
Plant Operator Certifications & Recognitions
All of the operators are state-certified wastewater treatment plant operators and continue to attend classes relevant to plant operation. In 2001, the plant received an Operations and Maintenance Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additional services provided by plant operators include treatment and disposal of septic tank wastes, garage sump wastes, and restaurant grease.
Learn more about Laramie's various water sources.