Thousands of U.S. Water and Wastewater Plants Purchase Lime Based Products Each Year


Lime products soften water by removing carbonate and non-carbonate hardness. This purifies the water for consumption, provides better tasting water and allows soap products to lather readily. Many of the 18,000 municipal drinking water facilities purchase lime.

Lime is used in municipal wastewater treatment to stabilize biosolids by killing pathogens, viruses and reducing vector attraction to produce high quality fertilizers for the agricultural industry. It also has other uses.

  • Reducing biosolids odors and improving handling through drying.

  • Ensuring pH and alkalinity are correct to optimize biological treatment operations.

  • Adjusting pH and alkalinity to optimize coagulation and flocculation settling processes.

  • Controlling nutrients like phosphorus as lime precipitates phosphorous to very low levels without biological treatment.

A sizable number of the 16,000 municipal wastewater treatment plants also use lime. A city may combine purchases and buy lime for multiple water and wastewater plants in an annual contract. Some contracts are as short as six months and some as long as five years.

McIlvaine Company tracks bids for the purpose of helping lime companies understand when lime will be ordered, the quantities which will be needed, and the prices which are likely to be paid. Since a plant typically orders lime for the same period as previously and in the same month, it is possible to create a useful plant-by-plant pattern and predict the next order timing and amount.

The pricing shown in the chart does not necessarily reflect the price paid in the current year. The prices vary greatly based on the location of the lime supplier and the availability of the product. Prices also vary by the particle size and treatment.

Picture: U.S. Water and Wastewater Plants Purchase Lime Based Products (Image: McIlvaine)

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