Like computers, water treatment plants get old. The Cambridge water plant needed updating, and this week workers are putting the final touches on installing a new aerator and monitoring system.

Dale Hennick, water systems manager in Cambridge, said the city of Cambridge kept the old equipment running until it started leaking and had to be replaced. Replacing the aerator cost around $255,000.

Last week, Hennick and engineers from Oakview Dck LLC in Waukee, did the final touches on the installation, which began April 19. Hennick and Travis Grammer, an Oakview engineer, worked on tightening bolts and checking for leaks.

Hennick ran water through the system at over 200 gallons per minute to clean out dust and particulates in the areator. Hennick said residents may see a slight increase in water costs, but if the city had to switch to a rural water system, it would cost residents more over the long term. The water treatment plant also provides an income source for the city.

The new system has an updated programmable logic controller, which includes a touch screen and computerized monitoring system. The system also has built in safety monitors to prevent pumps from burning out.

Hennick said a couple of years ago he needed parts for the old system, and no parts were available because the system was outdated. It took three weeks to special order a piece to keep the water plant running.

"I had to run the filteration system by hand. I came in three times a day to make sure it didn’t run out of water and burn up a pump," Hennick said. "When something breaks, you have to fix it because people want and need water."

For the past month, Cambridge residents have been using the Central Iowa Rural Water system while the aerator was being replaced. Residents were asked to avoid heavy water usage such as watering lawns, washing cars and filling pools to limit usage.

(To report Cambridge news, please contact Barb McBreen at 515-383-2244 or by email at barbmcbreen@gmail.com. Or you may drop off news items in the evening or on weekends at 217 Seventh St., Cambridge.)