The James W. Jardine Water Purification Plant in Chicago is the largest-capacity water filtration plant in the world. Located on a 60-acre peninsula on Lake Michigan and near Chicago's Navy Pier, the plant sends nearly 1 billion gallons of water every day to 5.5 million city and suburban residents.
Constructed in 1964 and operated by the city of Chicago, the plant treats 1 million gallons of fresh lake water per minute from two water cribs 2 1/2 miles offshore and pumps it to the filtration plant via 4,000 miles of pipeline under Lake Michigan. It takes eight hours from the time water gets sucked into an intake crib until it reaches a faucet somewhere in Chicagoland.
In 2012, the facility's 48-year-old gravel and coal-tar pitch built-up roof system was leaking and deteriorating at a progressive rate, posing a contamination threat to the clean water supply.
"The Jardine plant is an engineering marvel," says John Cronin, president of Trinity Roofing Service Inc., Blue Island, Ill. "But a half century of constant 80-degree temperatures with high relative humidity and chlorine processing inside the facility corroded the original roof channels."