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Taking a look into our water treatment facilities and the role it plays in wet weather

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As the snow falls the ground soaks in as much as it can.

The ground right now is very saturated.

The area is 14 inches above normal for precipitation.

So the runoff has to head to the Peoria or Twin Cities water treatment facilitates.

On a normal day both plants see about 20 to 30 million gallons of water flowing through the system.

During wet weather their intake levels rise.

Peoria maxes out at about 150 million gallons.

Bloomington's West plant can hold about 70 million gallons with an 80 million gallon reservation lagoon for overflow on standby.

Both teams say there is always a concern of running out of room.

The snow is expected to melt slowly so the teams said they can handle it.

"You always have a risk depending on how much the city's combined sewer system can hold. Here at the plant we have a very dynamic, very modern treatment plant. It's automated and we have staff 24/7 to keep an eye on the plant," said Brian Johnson, the executive Director for Peoria's treatment facility.

Johnson said heavy rain is a greater risk for overflow problems.

Executive Director of Bloomington Normal's water reclamation plant, Randy Stein, said snow and ice can also slow down the water cleaning system.

"Snow melt will affect the plant in lowering the temperature of the water coming into the plant. This is a biological process, it may slow the biological process if we get a lot of cold water into the plant," said Stein.

At both plants employees are always watching the system.

Alex Menke

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