By Tim Cox
Celina city officials are leaning toward a phased plan to carry out an estimated $14 million in improvements and renovations to the city's water plant.
Breaking the massive project down into manageable phases would have numerous benefits, said Kent Bryan, the city's community development consultant. Phasing would possibly allow the city to meet the EPA's Nov. 5, 2007, deadline for the city to achieve water quality compliance while also giving city officials time to search for grant funding for other necessary renovations to the plant and treatment equipment, he said.
Doing the whole proposal as one project "seems unacceptable at this point," Bryan said, because of the large cost and because it could be five years or more until the new system comes online and the city's drinking water meets standards.
By phasing the work, city officials can implement new treatment technology in a relatively short amount time to gain compliance. Multi-million dollar building and equipment improvements could come later, he said.
Bryan said Celina City Council members will be asked by late October to make a decision on how they want to proceed. There literally are more than a dozen options for them to consider, although engineers have recommended certain courses of action as the best way to proceed. To fix water quality problems caused by trihalomethanes (THM) in the water, a couple of new processes would be added. The new processes would remove the organic material from the water that eventually reacts with chlorine to break down into the potentially harmful THMs.
City officials are looking at using granular activated carbon pellets that would draw organic material out of the water. A more expensive reverse osmosis, also called membrane filtration, would achieve the same thing.
A pilot study would have to be done on the carbon because no one is sure how often the carbon would have to be replaced to keep up with the city organic-laden water.
The plant also needs several million dollars in improvements to the physical structure and some of its main treatment equipment, some of which dates to the plant's construction in the 1950s.
The full water report -- a voluminous compilation held in six-inch-thick binders -- can be accessed by the public at the Mercer County Public Library or the city utilities office.