KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — The City of Kingsport plans to replace three large “traveling screens” that filter river water at the city’s water treatment plant.

The screens are located on the edge of the Holston River and act as a strainer, capturing debris down to 3/8 of an inch in size, according to water treatment plant manager Mark Zinnanti.

The screens are about 40 feet tall and rotate like a treadmill during the cleaning process, during which water jets blow off debris into large baskets before being deposited back into the river downstream. The city says the screens typically have a 20-year life span.

“The screens are there to protect our pumps,” Zinnanti said in a release. “Debris could get in and jam or damage the pumps. If you let the debris in, it’ll settle in the tunnel and eventually could become a problem.”

The $1.43 million project is currently in the engineering phase and the city hopes to bid out the work this summer. The city has applied for a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to help pay for the project.

The city water plant, located off Konnarock Road, treats around 16 million gallons of water from the Holston River every day.