Cedar Rapids unveils new UV disinfection system - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids unveils new UV disinfection system

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Cedar Rapids has updated its methods for making its drinking water cleaner. It's a new ultraviolet disinfection system.

"It's something we take for granted maybe each morning, as we're filling the coffee pots or doing the dishes or taking a shower," said Mayor Ron Corbett, at a media conference on Tuesday, as the city unveiled the new ultraviolet reactors.

The chambers are now the final stop for drinking water before it gets to homes and businesses in Cedar Rapids. Water plant manager Tariq Baloch calls them an investment in customer safety.

"This is mainly directed at virus inactivation, and there are bacteria; they're kind of lumped into what's called microorganisms," said Baloch.

The chambers bombard water with ultraviolet light, essentially killing off any microorganisms that may have somehow made it through earlier filtration chambers. It renders them unable to reproduce, meaning they no longer pose a health risk. Constantly-changing water quality regulations make these new reactors a necessity.

"This added protection keeps us within those compliance parameters," Baloch told us.

Parts of the water treatment plant date back to the 1920s, but this $40-million project represents the city's desire to stay with the flow of updated filtration methods, according to Utilities Director Patrick Ball. 

"UV is just the next step as we continue to utilize newer technologies to continue to provide safe drinking water," Ball explained.

The project is being paid for with a State Revolving Fund Loan totaling about $39.4 million. The rest comes from the Cedar Rapids Water Division's reserve fund.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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