Hawks Nest Intake Bypass: Keeping the Water Flowing for 20,000 People

How We Helped WV American Water Avoid Service Interruptions

When the Hawks Nest Dam on the New River was slated for its first inspection and maintenance in nearly a century, WV American Water had a dilemma. The water level of the dam would need to be lowered significantly — but that jeopardized water access for more than 20,000 people. So they turned to Service Pump and Supply for a solution. We designed an intake bypass system that kept the community’s water running — with absolutely no disruption in service. 

The Problem: Water Levels Were Being Reduced Below Intake Levels 

For the first time since the 1930s, the Hawks Nest Dam was scheduled to undergo inspection and maintenance. To allow the area to be inspected, engineers needed to reduce the Hawks Nest Reservoir’s water level by 25 feet — well below the intake level for the WV American Water Treatment Plant.  

More than 20,000 people were depending on the reservoir for their access to clean water. And the water levels would need to be lowered for months — so briefly turning off water service or relying on storage tanks was not an option.

The Solution: An Intake Bypass 

To avoid any disruption in services, our engineers developed a floating intake bypass.  Our in-house fabrication shop built a barge to house pumps transferring 2,800 gallons of raw water per minute directly into West Virginia American Water’s treatment plant. Our field service team installed the rafts, pumps, valves and piping, and electrical cables and controls — while integrating the intake bypass into the customer’s existing lift station along the river bank.  

Our electricians helped integrate the bypass system with West Virginia American Water’s existing drive to power the pumps. A transmitter was installed to maintain constant raw water pressure. As a result, local residents didn’t experience even a moment’s disruption in service.

WV American Water went to extraordinary lengths and expense with the help of Service Pump and Supply in an effort to keep clean, safe water flowing without any interruptions in services to their customers. These measures included more than temporary equipment to supply the water including additional chemicals used for treatment, source water monitoring, and manpower needed to achieve the same high quality of water their customers expect.

“Since we put this pump in, we haven’t missed a day — we haven’t missed a minute — of treating water. No disruption in service at all. Service Pump did a wonderful job putting everything together —manufactured and assembled— in just ten days.” — Tim Bennett, West Virginia American Water.

Check out the video below to see how we did it!

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Tim Bennett: Had a problem with a dam downstream of us being federally mandated to make this older dam, which was gonna take our intake level down to 790 feet and take both intakes out of the water. So we were talking through the dilemma about how we would keep water to 20,000 people and have no water on our intakes. 

So Service Pump came up with a barge, see there, that we’re pumping 2,800 gallons per minute from the barge through the trestle and in the back of the plant. We tied it into our header on the bottom of our vertical lift pumps. And we have to transmit water 860 vertical feet up the mountain. So we had to come up with a pump that was high volume, low pressure to put on the head of our pump. We integrated their pump with our drives, and we put a transmitter on the header to keep the pressure where we wanted to maintain the same pressure we have if the river level was where it needs to be. 

Since we’ve put the pump in, we haven’t missed a day, we haven’t missed a minute of treating water. We’ve been able to treat water just like we were with the intakes were in service. No disruption of service at all. Service Pump did a wonderful job. Put everything together, they did this in 10 days. Everything you see there, Service Pump manufactured and got put in in 10 days. Before they started dropping the level of the river.

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