The Frank J. horgan Filtration Plant is located Southeast of Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario (See map). Its purpose is to provide safe drinking water to our taps by filtering the water. The water is gathered from Lake Ontario. This plant has a production capacity of 455 million litres per day to supply the residents of Toronto with drinking water. Its average production of drinking water is 355 million litres per day. It is also the newest filtration plant in Toronto.


The Frank J. horgan Filtration Plant was built from 1974 to 1979 on property acquired from the city of Scarborough, It opened on May 22,1980. When it opened, it was not named Frank J. Horgan Filtration Plant but was names Easterly Filtration Plant. This was because the plant was on the eastern side of Toronto. The name seemed appropriate at the time. The name was changed to Frank J. Horgan Filtration Plant at 1990 by the commissioner of works for Metro Toronto. This plant cost about 57 million dollars to construct. About nineteen major contractors worked on this plant and were supervised by the Engineering firm of James F. Macharen Limited. Although it is the newest plant, it had it’s disasters. Their intake value exploded twice between 1980 and 1995 because of the extreme pressure and Wight of the water. these incidents cause a shutdown of the plant until they could repair it.


The Frank J. Horgan Filtration Plant needs only one row materials to operate, which is water. The plant is right next to lake Ontario, collecting water to purify. The water enters the plant by means of two 114 and four 182 million litres per day pumps, sum 18 meters below sea level and 2960 meters off the shore. Since the pressure of the water at that depth is so strong, there is no need for any mechanical pumps. They just let pressure and suction to do the job. The water is now treated with chemicals which are aluminium sulphate (alum), lime and chlorine. Alum is used to stick dirt particles together, to make large clumps of dirty called “floc”. A lot of chlorine is added to the water to kill the bacteria. If we were to drink it, you would die from chlorine poisoning. The Chlorine, by the end of the filtration, drops to a safe level. This is where the alum does its work. Coagulation is basically mixing the alum with the water. This is a achieved by high speed in-line mechanical blenders. Flocculation occurs right afterwards. Alum could be either poly-aluminium chloride or aluminium sulphate, is a very sticky substance which likes clinging onto dirt particles. All this flocculation is done in three stages:

1.Focculation is achieved by exail flow turbines with varied inputs of energy and the last two stages are done in two 900mm diameter pipelines.

2.The next step in filtering the water is filtration. The water passes through 8 dual media filters. This is where some bacteria and the floc are removed. The filters consists of the following in order: 0.305m of grated gravel, 0.35m of sand and 0.460m of anthracite. This was the best composition for the filter to make it effective. Normally this would be done once but if the water is really dirty it would have to be filtered again to meet the government standard. By now most of the chlorine in the water has killed most of the bacteria and the level of chlorine in the water is much lower.

3.Here is where they kill any remaining bacteria and add flavouring to the water. They add about 1.2mg per litre of chlorine, any more and it will kill you from fluorine poisoning. Chlorine is also added to kill any remaining bacteria. This time if you drink the water it is safe. If there are high levels of bacteria they would have to go through a process called “Super-chlorination”. Hence the name, they increase the chlorine dosage. After that, they reduce the chlorine content by adding sulphur-dioxide. Ammonium is added to the water.

The final stage is storage and distribution. By the time the water gets to your home there may not be any chlorine left. This is not good because what if there was bacteria in the pipes? The ammonia prevents the chlorine from evaporating that easily that way it is killing any bacteria in the pipes. All water you receive from your taps is a combination of all four filtration plants in Toronto.

Waste Disposal

Most of the waste produced in the filtration plant is in the dirty filters. It is too expensive and time wasting to go down and replace the filters every time they get dirty. Since making clean water is a 24 hour, 7 days a week job, they had to think of a way to clean the filters fast and effectively. To clean the filters they use a process called “back wash”. The back wash uses treated water and is forced up the filter and out the other way. The filter will now expand inside because of the pressure of the water. The waste will go to a separate place and then will be dumped to highland creek water pollution control plant for treatment and disposal of the waste.


It is required that at least two people are at all times in the plant. On the weekdays during 4-5 hours about 35 people work there. On week-ends and on holidays only two people are at the plant. The two required people are usually found in the control room. The people there have twelve hour shifts. If one person is late for work, the person duty is required to stay in the control room until they are relieved by the other person.


We mostly pay water through maintenance fees or through utility bills. On average in North America, water costs about $1.30 American currency per 1000 gallons. That is essentially less than one cent per gallon. United States and Canada produce 49 billion gallons of water each day. That is about a revenue of 54.6 million U.S. dollars per day. The Franc J. Horgan filtration plant accounts for a part of this production with revenues of $122 200 us dollars a day. About 10% of the water produced is lost or unaccounted for. Canada is amongst the biggest water wasters in the world. An average Canadian uses 340 litres of water every day. That is more than twice the consumption of Europeans. About 39% of the water distributed is used in homes compared to 27% used in factories, 19% in commercial businesses and 5% used by the public. Therefore, most of the water distributed is used in our homes and although water is a bargain we must remember that it is in limited supply.

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