By Tim Cox
Celina city officials remain confident the new treatment equipment they plan to install at the city water plant will effectively eliminate the city's water quality problems at a reasonable cost.
A contingent of city administration officials and water plant employees recently visited Bowling Green, which uses the granular activated carbon (GAC) treatment that Celina plans to pursue. Based on that visit, city officials like what they see.
"There aren't a lot of direct correlations we can make between our plant and theirs, but it confirmed for us what we already believed," city consultant Kent Bryan said.
Celina plans to use the carbon pellets near the end of the treatment process to absorb organic material from the water.
Organic material in the water has been the main problem as it reacts with chlorine added as a disinfectant and forms trihalomethanes (THMs). Celina's THM levels regularly run far above EPA limits and the city is under orders to correct the problem by November 2007. The Bowling Green water system is similar to Celina's but is about three times as large. The system draws surface water from the Maumee River, much as Celina draws water from Grand Lake.
Bowling Green does not have THM problems, though, Bryan said. City officials there installed GAC treatment a few years ago to deal with taste and odor issues, Bryan said.
The GAC treatment will help Bowling Green avoid future THM problems as EPA standards grow more stringent, Bryan said.
Implementing GAC could run $2 million or so, and city officials have not decided whether they will make other necessary upgrades to the water plant at the same time. Operational costs of the new treatment had been estimated at $270,000 annually, but city officials now believe that cost will be much lower.
"Based on what we saw in Bowling Green -- and based on our own testing here -- it looks like we'll be considerably less than that," Bryan said.
The city has been pilot testing GAC treatment on a small scale since late last year.
Engineer Metcalf & Eddy should be ready to move forward with design of the new GAC facility after city council approves paying for the work, Bryan said. City officials plan to demolish and clear the site occupied by the city's former power plant, known as the Blue Goose, to make room for the new facility.
Bid specifications now are being put together to seek proposals for taking down the Blue Goose and leaving the concrete foundation in place. City officials hope they can essentially swap the scrap steel from the Blue Goose in exchange for the labor to tear it down.
If the Blue Goose plan does not come together this summer, city officials will have to consider building the new treatment area at the existing water plant just to the south. The city cannot afford to waste much time in deciding where to put the GAC treatment because of the looming EPA deadline.