2008-07-26 / News

Millersport expects discoloration to clear up soon

By Charles Prince

MILLERSPORT - It could take up to a week to clear up Millersport's water discoloration problems, Michael Carder of GGC Engineers told The Beacon Tuesday. His firm designed the new plant and serves as village engineer.

Water customers started complaining about water discoloration about a month ago when the village started up its new state-of-the-art regional water treatment plant. The initial focus was on sediment that Carder and operators thought had been broken loose by changes in the pressure in a feeder line and some changes in the direction of water flow. All fire hydrants were flushed two weeks ago to remove sediment.

When flushing failed to remove the discoloration, the focus turned to the new treatment plant and the two new water supply wells. Carder says the wells are "awesome" for their production capacity, but notes that there are some major differences in raw water quality between them, even though they are only a couple hundred feet apart.

The new plant has a lot of electro-mechanical controls which means many processes are controlled by computers. Making adjustments, particularly when one action affects another, can be a slow process. The plant takes water from both new wells on an automated rotating basis.

The chemical feed system is now well specific. A key difference between the wells is the level of magnesium. According to the National Drinking Water Clearinghouse, excessive manganese can produce a brownish color in laundered clothing, leaves black particles on fixtures and affects the taste of beverages. It is not unhealthy.

Millersport uses permanganate to oxidize magnesium and iron, but it must be closely controlled - too little won't oxidize all the iron and magnesium and too much will cause "pink water." The oxidation process creates particles which are then filtered out.

An expert from the filter manufacturer arrived in Millersport Tuesday. The filter evaluation is focusing on the backwash sequence which must be done periodically to remove the iron and magnesium particles caught in the filter.

Carder expects everything will be addressed by Wednesday, but notes that it could take up to a week to clear up the system. He called the changes "finetuning." "We're getting there," Carder added.

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