Drinking water in Vienna should improve in coming months with the addition of a solar-powered water circulating system in the city’s reservoir.
According to water plant operator Herb Hosfeldt, with the IEPA grant, the $47,000 plus SolorBee system will only cost the city around $3,000.
The water in the city reservoir, like most lakes and ponds, turns over with temperature change, at least once a year. The turn-over causes sediment to rise and mix with the water, causing discoloration, odor and an unpleasant taste.
The SolarBee is designed to circulate water by bringing water from below and sending it out across the top in a thin layer causing a mixing effect.
SolarBees come in various sizes, the largest circulates 14 million gallons a day. The system installed in the Vienna reservoir will circulate seven million gallon per day.
During operation, the laminar (upper) layer of water flows outward radially, in diverging “stream lines” from the distribution dish. As it does, vertical flow is induced in between the water being drawn below and the water above. At the level of the flow intake, water is drawn from all corners of the pond.
As this lower layer of water makes its way inward with converging streamlines to the SolarBee, the water is forced upward, toward the surface, providing gentle mixing, de-stratification, and surface renewal.
The SolarBee obtains all the energy it needs from the sun. Its solar panels provide power to the onboard battery which energizes the drive system’s controls and motor.
The solar panels allow excess energy to be stored during the day and used during the night allowing the system to operate during the night without being connected to the electrical grid.
During operation, a visible flow can be observed coming off the distributor dish and spreading outward.
The impeller of the SolarBee is designed to operate at full speed when there is sufficient sunlight and battery charge. The revolutions per minute may drop down some during the later night and early morning when the battery uses up its charge after a longer period of overcast days. In severe sunlight limited conditions, the machine may slow down or stop temporarily to protect the battery from damage.