Oak Grove looks to filter drinking water at the source

by Kelly Johnson
Staff Writer

Oak Grove is again looking at ways to reduce the amount of arsenic in the water from the second well in the West Lake George water system.

The well was recently constructed to provide a second well for the water system and to lower the amount of arsenic in the water provided by the system’s first well.

This second well was drilled deeper than the first, in hopes that it would reduce the level of arsenic in the water supply. The first well tested as having 10.4 parts per billion in July 2010, which exceeds the state’s limit of 10 parts per billion for arsenic.

At that time, the city considered options to reduce arsenic levels, settling on drilling a second well deeper in hopes of finding another rock formation which would allow for reduced arsenic levels in the water.

“I think it’s well worth it,” said Brian Miller, the city’s engineer, at the Jan. 9 Oak Grove City Council meeting. “I think it’s a better quality water.”

To make the water meet state arsenic standards, Miller presented the council with three options to remove arsenic from the water supply.

The council unanimously Jan. 9 (Councilmember Dan Denno was absent) approved going ahead with a study on an oxidation-filtration system to treat the water.

The cost of the study is $2,500.

“I believe $2,500 will be money well spent,” said Mayor Mark Korin.

The oxidation-filtration system is basically a water treatment system at the well that would filter out arsenic, iron and manganese.

“The oxidation-filtration is the way to go,” Miller said.

“It’s a higher cost but better quality product. It’s going to be there 30 to 40 years from now.”

Estimates for the oxidation-filtration system have the capital costs at $200,000, with annual costs of $4,000.

Miller also looked at an Isolux system, which is a patented system of arsenic removal.

According to Miller, with the water’s high concentration of iron, the cartridges used in the system would need to be replaced more frequently, making the system less cost effective over time. Capital costs for this system are estimated at $120,000.

An arsenic filtration system is estimated to cost $150,000 initially; however, it only removes arsenic from the water.

Miller anticipates the state to change the allowable levels for other minerals in drinking water, which means the city may need to filter out other things in the future, he said.

“We’ve got to filter for all of it or nothing,” Korin said.

Kelly Johnson is at kelly.johnson@ecm-inc.com

  • Ed Asthma

    $2500 for a study? $200K for an oxidation treatment system? I don’t understand. What is the problem with arsenic in drinking water? In Oak Grove, my neighbor burns treated wood, most likely CCA, which is a pesticide containing arsenic. Dozens of people could be breathing it at any time. The City does not act on aerosolized arsenic. So if it’s ok to inhale arsenic in the lungs, why is there an issue with a little arsenic in the stomach? My tax dollars go to someone else’s arsenic problem but nothing is done about ours.

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