Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v13n07)
Everything you always wanted to know about the canal...Part Thirteen
posted: Apr. 01, 2016
For those readers just discovering this series on the canal now in its 13th part, I will explain why the canal is important and why the Gazette is doing this series. The dam that created the Central Canal was built on the White River in 1936 and the Town of Broad Ripple grew up around it. It is why we are here today. For years the canal has supplied the City of Indianapolis with 60% of its fresh water which is processed for our clean water supply.
From the end of part twelve...
"The only other question. . . ," I followed up, "was from a guy that called the other day. It was about Fall Creek. He said there is a diversion thing where part of the canal looks like it goes off into Fall Creek. And he said "Why is that?" "
The skimmer just upstream of the canal aqueduct diverts limbs and other debris into Fall Creek, keeping them from entering the treatment plant.
Ed Malone, Director of Water Production for Citizens, replied, "It's a skimmer. The debris that gets into the canal, leaves, whatever, as they flow down through the canal, there's a skimmer, no different than...if you've looked at our Fall Creek treatment plant. You've seen where the millrace is, you've seen the skimmer that's out in front of the mill race?"
"I have not seen that," I said. Ed was referring to a metal structure on the south side of Fall Creek Parkway just west of Keystone. This is where the old mill was.
Ed continued, "There's a metal structure that sits out in the river that basically keeps the debris flowing in the river. Same thing is true here. We have what's called a skimmer that basically diverts anything that's in the water, leaves, basketballs, whatever, and they go off and go down into Fall Creek."
"So they don't get processed," added Sarah Holsapple, Media Relations for Citizens.
Ed said, "So they don't go through the treatment process. We have bar screens at the intake at White River [treatment plant], and up at Broad Ripple (pictures at www.broadripplegazette.com). We have bar screens here at this inlet off of the canal. But, they're fairly wide. They're roughly four to six inches opening. So, we don't want leaves and what not coming into the treatment plant if at all possible."
Leah Samson, water treatment operator at Citizens, shows me the canal spillway to Fall Creek as a duck climbs up the waterfall.
Ed went on to explain that the aqueduct had openings along the wooden sides to allow debris to fall out onto Fall Creek.
"And the reason we stopped doing that," explained Ed, "in the early 80s, was that the ice would form on the side of the aqueduct structure and was causing deterioration of the concrete of the structure. So that's why the spillways were moved upstream to where they are today and the skimmer. The skimmer was moved from the aqueduct, to upstream of the aqueduct."
End of Part Thirteen
bar gate at canal entrance to treatment plant
spillway from skimmer to Fall Creek