Sandusky’s Strategy for Safer Drinking Water

Posted in: Drinking Water News, United States Water News, Water Contamination
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Joe Ritzenthaler of the city’s water treatment plant takes a sample of raw water from Lake Erie on Friday, August 1, 2014. Photo Credit: Jason Werling

Article courtesy of Andy Ouriel | August 3, 2015 | Sandusky Register | Shared as educational material

Sandusky officials drew up a battle plan and armed themselves with enough chemical weaponry to defeat maybe the region’s biggest threat in order to create safer drinking water.

But they’ll embark on the crucial mission without further polluting Lake Erie or Sandusky Bay.

During a recent public meeting, city commissioners approved plans for a two-phase project to more effectively and efficiently treat water coming into contact with algal blooms.

In short, a new automated system can reduce the toxins related to algal blooms once water enters Sandusky’s treatment plan. The entire system, which should go live by spring 2016, will cost about $2.5 million, paid entirely through water funds.

City commissioner Dick Brady explained how integrating certain, and limited amounts of, carbon and fluorescence can help produce safer drinking water for area customers:

Carbon impact

At the present time, we dump 50-pound bags of carbon into the water at the rate of 420 pounds per day to improve the taste and odor of the water.

We now know that carbon can be used to treat algae. This is done by hand and without any real science as to how much is enough to effectively deal with the toxin problem.

The first part of the engineering is to completely automate this system so employees are not handling this product.

With this automation, we can go from 420 pounds a day to 4,000 pounds a day, if necessary.

Fluorescence impact

This will give us the tool to make better use of all of our chemicals in treating the water for a variety of issues. This new technology has the ability to keep us from using more chemicals, like carbon and chlorine, than are needed.

That is important because the overuse of chemicals causes a host of other problems, such as THMs (environmental pollutants or toxins) at the far end of the county in the pipes. Overtreating is as bad as undertreating.

Overall impact

This project has three benefits:

• It will improve the water quality by reducing the THMs.

• It will reduce the algae toxins.

• It will reduce the dollars we spend on the chemicals.

This is an opportunity for our city to take the lead on this very important issue. We are being proactive in making use of the latest technology in this war on algae.

 

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