Watertown City Council to consider $3 million water treatment plant project

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WATERTOWN — The city plans to borrow $3 million to pay for a project to correct issues with two contaminants at its water treatment plant.

For the past few years, the city has been under a consent order by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to submit a Corrective Action Plan to comply with maximum levels of a pair of disinfection byproducts at the Huntington Street filtration plant.

During budget deliberations this spring, City Council members learned that the city would have to spend at least $3 million to correct the issues with the contaminants.

Council members will vote tonight whether to approve a $3 million bond for the project.

In April, the City Council agreed to pay GHD Consulting Services, Syracuse, $43,900 to design a filter system that keeps the byproducts at acceptable levels.

The two byproducts are known as total trihalomethanes, or TTHM, and haloacetic acids, or HAA5.

To try to resolve the issue, GHD is conducting a pilot program at the Water Street facility.

City Manager Kenneth A. Mix said Friday that council members will also be asked to appropriate another $663,000 to GHD to complete the pilot program and rent some intricate equipment from the engineering firm to determine whether the city has found a way to keep the two contaminants under maximum levels.

“The amendment includes additional funding to GHD for the pilot rental/commissioning, analyses, sampling, and reporting,” Mr. Mix wrote in a memo to council members. “The majority of the cost ($545,000) is in the equipment rental.”

The project also consists of $2.3 million in construction costs.

The pilot project will run through next spring, but the city should know in January whether it will work, Mr. Mix said.

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