By Tim Cox
With an Ohio EPA-mandated deadline of November 2007 looming, Celina officials are racing to put together the details of a proposed fix for the city's water.
Consultants from Metcalf & Eddy will present preliminary design of the granular activated carbon (GAC) system that will be added to the city's current treatment process on July 11. City officials also are in the process of getting proposals for the demolition of the former city power plant (known as the Blue Goose) so they can use the land for the new water facility.
The city is under EPA findings and orders to bring the city's water into compliance with state regulations by November 2007 or face daily fines of up to $25,000. Specifically, the city must lower the amount of trihalomethanes (THMs) in the water.
THMs form as a reaction between the organic material in the raw lake water and the chlorine that is added to disinfect the water before it leaves the plant. THMs in high levels have been linked to certain forms of cancer in laboratory animals.
The GAC treatment will use carbon pellets to pull organic material from the water so it cannot react with the chlorine. Pilot testing of the system has been successful so far, city officials say. Preliminary cost estimates show the GAC system could cost $2 million or so to build. Annual operational costs to replace the carbon when it is used up are estimated at $300,000.
The city now has only about 16 months to design the system, get EPA approval for the work and get it constructed before the deadline. Any delays at any point in the process could jeopardize the city's chances of meeting the mandate.
"We've got to get moving," Safety-Service Director Jeff Hazel said.
The biggest unknown factor in the plan right now is the fate of the power plant. City officials are hoping a contractor will take down the building for little or no cost in exchange for the value of the scrap steel in the structure. City officials plan to use the concrete foundation for the GAC facility that would be connected to the rest of the water plant directly to the south.
If the Blue Goose property could not be used, city officials and engineers would have to find a way to squeeze the new technology into the existing water plant complex.
City consultant Kent Bryan said he believes the plan will work if the city can reach a favorable deal for taking the Blue Goose down. The concrete foundation should be in good condition if it is not damaged during demolition, he said.