Jan 16, 2011 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
Ever wonder where your water’s been?
For village residents of Jordan and Elbridge, lately it’s been getting high-tech ultraviolet light treatment at the newly constructed LT2 plant in Elbridge.
All municipalities that receive drinking water from Skaneateles Lake – which also includes the city of Syracuse and the village and town of Skaneateles – are required by Federal law to install treatment plants by March 2012. The Elbridge facility, located on Kingston Road, is the first of its kind in Onondaga County.
“We decided to bite the bullet and get it done right away, so we’re ahead of the game,” said Fred Weisskopf, acting mayor of Elbridge. “We’re the guinea pigs.”
The plans for the facility began with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Long Term 2 Surface Water Treatment ruling (LT2), which requires uncovered water sources providing for a high enough number of people to be treated with ultra-violet light.
The mandate stems from the paramecium Cryptosporidiosis, which sickened thousands of people in Rochester in 2005. The microorganism has yet to be traced to Jordan-Elbridge.
Water systems were evaluated based on size of population serviced. Elbridge was required to treat its water because it shares a water line with the city of Syracuse.
“If we had our own [water supply] – because we have such a small population – we would not have to do this,” said Tom King, head of public works for the village of Elbridge. “But since we [were evaluated as] part of that population, we have to treat it.”
With the plant finally up and running after 16 months of planning and construction, Weisskopf reflected on the main obstacles presented by the project – “Finding the money to pay for it,” he said.
The project, estimated at around $1 million, took unprecedented coordination between the villages and town, who together obtained a New York State Department of State grant totaling $600,000. Both villages and the town each received $90,000 toward the project in Onondaga County Community Development grant money.
“[Senator John] DeFrancisco was very helpful in getting them, and Community Development was helpful,” Weisskopf said.
The remaining costs of the project, along with maintenance and upkeep of the facility, is being covered by an LT2 service charge, which is already on the water bill of village of Elbridge and Jordan residents.
How it works
The LT2 facility in Elbridge uses two Trojan UV Swift light reactors – one of them as as a backup – to treat the estimated 40,000 cubic feet of water that comes through daily. Trojan senior service technician Steve Birbaumer was in Elbridge Jan. 6 working out some final kinks in the software and explained the process of treating water with UV light.
“It will alter the DNA so the virus or the bacteria can no longer reproduce, and then obviously it just dies,” Birbaumer said. “For viruses it kills on contact and the contact time can be in the hundredths of a second.”
“It doesn’t add any taste to the water,” he added, “it doesn’t change the water, there’s no by-product of using UV.”
Connecting to Hartlot
Residents of the Hartlot Water District in the town of Elbridge will eventually benefit from the LT2 facility, which means they’ll also pay the service charge. Part of the grant funding was awarded to allow Hartlot, which currently has its own water transmission line to Skaneateles, to hook up to the village of Elbridge system.
Hartlot customers repeatedly report problems with high water pressure, Weisskopf said. The Elbridge system has multiple pressure reducing valves in place along the water line.
“Our system will be a lower pressure so it will benefit the people,” Weisskopf said. “Also, the town of Skaneateles charges more money than the village of Elbridge will.”
Weisskopf said local officials hopes to make the switch this summer.
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