Carmichaels Municipal Authority moves forward on project

Municipal authority to install aeration systems on storage tanks

June 11, 2013

CARMICHAELS – Carmichaels Municipal Authority is proceeding with plans to install aeration systems on the authority’s water storage tanks to help prevent the formation of the chlorination byproduct trihalomethane.

Authority engineer Jim Willard told the authority board Monday that applications for permits needed from the state Department of Environmental Protections for the systems should be completed before the authority’s next meeting.

The authority plans to obtain permits for the project before it applies for grants to fund installation of the aeration systems, which were recommended in a study completed by the engineer as a means of preventing the formation of THMs.

The authority had problems in late 2010 and early 2011, when it failed to meet safe drinking water standards for THM. However, tests for that last year and a half indicate THM levels below the maximum contamination level of 0.08 milligrams per liter.

THM forms when chlorine, used by the authority as a disinfectant, combines with the organic matter in raw river water. It is more likely to form when water temperatures rise and when the chlorine remains in contact with organic matter in the treated water for long periods of time.

The study also recommended installing equipment to chlorinate treated water after it leaves the storage tanks. This would allow the authority to use less chlorine at the treatment plant and still provide for adequate chlorination while reducing the time chlorine is in contact with organic matter in the water.

Authority manager Lloyd Richard spoke Monday about several locations on the system where he believed the chlorine boosters could be installed.

He also reported recent tests indicate THM levels increased slightly, from 0.039 milligrams per liter to 0.045 milligrams per liter, from April to May as water temperatures in the river rose. The THM levels are still well below the maximum contamination level.

Richard said the authority would be flushing hydrants and water lines beginning today. This also helps reduce THM levels in the system by flushing water that has been in the lines for extended periods.

He also reported a bulk purchaser, Pennsylvania Energy Corp., has stopped purchasing water from the authority, reducing demand on the system. The company had purchased about 4.3 million gallons of water from the authority.

Flushing the system is a good “pro-active” measure to help keep THM levels in check, especially when demand is down, Willard said. He also suggested the authority keep the water levels in its storage tanks half full, as it has done in the past, to allow for faster turnover of treated water.

Willard also reported his firm is preparing bid documents for updating the electrical controls at the plant.

The authority tabled action on the single bid it received for the sale of the steel tank and tank property on town hill north of Carmichaels.

A neighboring property owner had submitted a bid of $5,000 for the tank and the about three-quarters of an acre of land. The authority plans to retain rights of way on the property needed to maintain the system.

The authority voted to renew its insurance through the Baily Agency. The bid was $1,640 more than what the authority paid this year. However, Richard said he will talk to the company about removing a pump station that has been dismantled from the coverage as well as reducing coverage on older authority vehicles.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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