Carmichaels Municipal Authority shelves plans to test new disinfectant

December 11, 2012

CARMICHAELS – Carmichaels Municipal Authority, which has continued to see low levels of trihalomethane in its treated water, agreed Monday to shelve plans to test a new water disinfectant.

The authority earlier agreed to lease on a trial basis a system that would allow it to use chlorine dioxide as a disinfectant, replacing chlorine, as a way to lower trihalomethane levels in its water.

The authority last summer was out of compliance with federal safe drinking water standards for trihalomethane and has been making changes in its system to address the issue.

Authority manager Lloyd Richard told the authority board Monday the authority’s latest tests for trihalomethane indicated a level of 0.0274 milligrams per liter.

The average level for the authority’s last four quarters is .0401 mg/L, well under the standard for safe drinking water for trihalomethane of 0.08 mg/L averaged over four quarters.

Authority engineer Jim Willard said he was pleased to see adjustments made in the authority’s system helped lower trihalomethane levels. The quality of the authority’s source water, the Monongahela River, also may have played a part in the lower levels, he said.

The authority, however, still must be prepared in case the problem reoccurs, Willard said. “We have to have the facilities and operations in place so if it happens again we’ll be able to address it.”

Willard’s firm KLH Engineers is now completing a study of the authority’s treatment system in regard to improving water quality and lowering trihalomethane levels.

He recommended the authority not proceed with a plan to use the chlorine dioxide system. The system, he said, would only increase operational and maintenance costs for the authority.

The use of chlorine dioxide, in addition, was not looked on favorably by the state Department of Environmental Protection, which has failed to grant the authority a permit for its use.

Willard said the firm’s study, which will be completed by the end of the month, is now leaning toward using a system to aerate and mix treated water in the authority’s water storage tanks as a way of removing trihalomethane from the water.

The authority voted to have Willard and its solicitor re-negotiate the lease for the chlorine dioxide system with the system’s supplier, International Dioxide of Rhode Island.

The system was never used by the authority. It was suppose to be delivered in August, at a time the authority traditionally had problems with trihalomethane because of higher water temperatures, but did not arrive until October.

The authority had planned to lease the system for four to six months and at a cost of $1,925 a month.

In other business, the authority approved a budget that does not include a rate increase. It was noted that a rate increase may be necessary in the near future because of improvements needed in the system.

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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