Moulton Utilities responds to water issues

MOULTON, Ala. (WHNT) – Moulton Utilities has officially begun efforts to address drinking water issues the community has been talking about. These reported issues include taste, odor and color.

At a town council meeting on May 9, the water treatment plant’s chief operator, Stanley Nichols, spoke to council and attendees about his plans. He said he would treat the intake lake on May 16.

News 19 followed Nichols to see how the treatment plan unfolds.

He invited News 19 reporter Emily Moessner and assignment manager Cristina Byrne to the water treatment plant for a tour.

Nichols explained to News 19 that the taste/odor issue is separate from a water color/quality issue.

He said the taste and odor issue was related to the previous algae bloom in the intake lake, located about 2.5 miles from the water treatment plant.

On Monday, boats injected copper sulphate into the intake lake to treat it. Nichols said his team is also installing injection sites along the waterlines between the lake and the plant, to inject more copper sulfate into the water supply.

Nichols explained that the plant already adds copper sulfate to the treatment plant water as part of the chemical mix, but injecting it on the way to the plant gives the chemical more time to react and solve the problem.

Nichols said the plant’s water already tasted better. However, he said it could take a few weeks before water from the recently treated lake reaches people’s homes, so they can taste a difference.

He also explained that the amount of copper sulphate added is carefully calculated, so it is a very small amount and not harmful to humans.

At the May 9 working session of the Moulton Town Council, the council and the chief water plant operator discussed the treatment plans.

Nichols also showed News 19 the extensive water testing processes the plant performs every day. The plant is manned 24/7 by a water operator to keep track of testing schedules. Some levels are monitored by a computer and recorded. Other tests are done by hand every hour, every two hours, or once a day, depending on the test.

These daily test logs are kept for at least 10 years. The daily logs are also translated into a monthly report, which is forwarded to the state.

When News 19 contacted the Alabama Department of Environmental Quality earlier this month, they reiterated that Moulton’s water samples meet state guidelines and are safe to drink. .

During the plant tour, Nichols explained the water treatment process. In a very simplified explanation, after the water arrives at the plant, it is added to a series of basins. In the first basin, it is treated with a mixture of chemicals. These chemicals help dirt and sediment sink to the bottom. Then the water is pumped through the various basins, and it gets cleaner in the process.

Coming out of one side of the plant, the water is supplemented with chlorine dioxide. Then the water reaches the filtration stations. The plan has four filters spread over two filtration basins.

Nichols explained that the filters are made of sand, anthracite (coal) and garnet. As the water filters, the remaining dirt and sediment is captured by the sand.

Once the water has passed through the filters, it goes to the holding tanks.

News 19 saw Nichols perform several tests on the newly treated water.

There were no color or clarity issues.

News 19’s Emily Moessner also sampled the water straight from the tap. The water was crystal clear in color, but it tasted slightly earthy.


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