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07-13-06 Water update slowed

By Tim Cox

  Celina's push toward an Ohio EPA-mandated fix of the city's water has suffered a minor delay, but city officials insist the setback will not stop the project from meeting its November 2007 deadline.

  A meeting with the city's engineering firm, Metcalf & Eddy, planned for this week was called off due to schedule conflicts, Safety-Service Director Jeff Hazel told Celina City Council members this week.

  City officials were to hear an engineering proposal from Metcalf & Eddy for the design of a new granular activated carbon (GAC) treatment facility. The GAC technology is being implemented to help the city reduce the levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) in the water. The city's THM levels regularly far exceed EPA limits on the chemical compound formed when chlorine in the water breaks down and reacts with organic material in the water.

  The GAC system will use carbon pellets to absorb organic material from the water drawn from Grand Lake so it cannot react with the chlorine to form the THMs. Some testing has indicated that THMs could be linked to certain forms of cancer and other diseases.

  Pilot testing of the GAC process has yielded positive results.  Engineers still are refining estimated operation and maintenance costs and are not ready to present that information to city officials, Hazel said. No date for the meeting has been set.

  Hazel said the deadline is looming closer, but said this minor setback won't jeopardize the city's timeline. City officials want to build the new facilities on the concrete foundation of the former power plant, known by most as the Blue Goose.

  "As long as the Blue Goose is still standing, we can't do anything anyway," Hazel said.

  City officials are in the process of seeking proposals for the demolition of the Blue Goose.

  "I would have rather had a design in my hands a few weeks ago because every passing day means the schedule is getting tighter," Hazel said.

  Under EPA orders, the city has until Nov. 7, 2007, to bring the water into compliance with state standards. The city could face daily fines of $25,000 if the deadline is missed.


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