Monrovia – The Water Treatment Plant in White Plains operated by the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) has been rehabilitated to its pre-war status of producing 16,000,000 gallons of water per day.
The water plant was dedicated Wednesday, January 10, 2018, by outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who praised the management and members of the board of the LWSC for being strong and resolved in their dedication to nation.
The water plant dedication comes in the wake of the challenge with the replacement of the first 25km of the existing 36” transmission pipelines that have outlived their designed lifespan of fifty years and design conveyance capacities.
According to Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation (LWSC) Managing Director, Mr. Hun-Bu Tulay, if nothing is done now, LWSC could end up spending several times more than the amounts already invested.
He said there could be possible outbreak through water borne diseases.
Speaking at the event, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said taking over as President of Liberia in 2005, the water plant in White Plains were part of the projects earmarked by her government and to be dedicating it at a time she is leaving was one of her proudest moments.
President Sirleaf said before the massive rehabilitation, the water facility was affected by structural damage across every facet of the facility that led to mud consuming the water filters meant to clean and purify the water - before final supply to end consumers.
When the plant was completed in 1985, the population of Monrovia was 700,000 inhabitants. At 16 million gallons per day to supply less 500,000 population the facility could serve the population then.
By 1985, the Population of Monrovia and its immediate environs had grown to 700,000 and the government was advised to expand the treatment facility to a capacity of 24 million gallons per day and increase transmission capacity by replacing the existing 16” to 24” and the 36” to 48”.
The government of Liberia was also advised to construct a booster station and reservoir in Congo Town, and construct ten million gallons capacity standpipes at hydraulically strategic locations around the city.
The government of Liberia could not implement any of the above recommendations before the onset of the civil crisis. Today, the population of Monrovia is approximately 1 million and there is an even greater water demand.
Fortunately, the African Development Bank is funding the construction of the booster station and reservoir public water supply to major urban center but there is a need to fund other projects which include; expansion of the capacity of the treatment to 24million gallons per day, replacement of the two transmission pipelines.
Critical amongst these priorities is the replacement of the first 25Km of the existing 36” transmission pipeline. These pipelines have outlived their designed lifespan of fifty years and design conveyance capacities.
Water treatment in White Plains started in the early 1960s with the construction of 2 million gallons per day capacity slow sand filtration plant. The plant replaced the old Kru Town infiltration gallery that could not meet the water demand.
The government of Liberia through the Public Utility Authority, the body that was responsible for basic services at the time (Electricity, Water, Telecommunication, Radio, and Sewer) engaged an America engineering firm (AB&H) from Chicago to conduct a feasibility study as well as carry out a design for a new treatment facility.
The study resulted in the construction of the first half of the current plant in 1968-a rapid sand filtration plant of 8 million gallons per day capacity.
That project also included the construction of a second transmission pipeline which transverses Johnsonville, Paynesville, Congo Town and Sinkor to Central Monrovia.
This pipeline begins as a 36” (900mm) diameter for the first 25km and then reduces to 24 inches (600mm) and 16 inches (400mm) before terminating at the city reservoir near Ducor. Both the treatment plant and the transmission pipelines were designed to serve a maximum population of 250,000 people.
With the development of new communities around Monrovia ad the increase in the demand for water for both domestic and industrial use, the government expanded the 1968 plant to a capacity of 16 million gallons per day, or sixty cubic meters per day, in 1982. This capacity was enough to serve a population of four hundred fifty thousand people.