02/19/06 — Mount Olive refurbishes filters in water system

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Mount Olive refurbishes filters in water system

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 19, 2006 2:04 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Some Mount Olive residents might be noticing a slightly different taste to their water lately.

But town officials say the difference won't last long. They are upgrading the water filters at the water system's well on Northeast Church Road, which had become worn.

The filters have been in use since the 1960s, said water plant superintendent Chet Whitman.

The filters have been causing problems for several months, and the town has shut them down temporarily to upgrade the system.

He said the town got special permission from state health officials to bypass the filters for a short time. The filters are designed to remove iron from the water. That has led to the change in the taste, Whitman said.

"The iron is not a health issue. It's a cosmetic issue," he said. "It's the iron that causes your clothes to turn brown. These filters are to take out the iron so it doesn't stain your clothes."

At first, town officials called in contractors to find out how much it would cost to change the filters. Some wanted as much as $250,000 to do the job.

"We decided there's no way we could afford that," Whitman said.

He said the town's engineer came up with an idea to add 20 more inches to the filters' side walls and increase their capacity and make them what is called "high-rate filters." Instead of holding 20 inches of filter material, the newly expanded filters will hold 40 inches. These high-rate filters will have the capacity to handle 900,000 gallons a day, more than twice as much water as the previous filters could handle.

Whitman said that by the town doing the work and contracting with Warsaw Welding to put the additions into the filters, Mount Olive can come out spending a little less than $30,000.

Work on making the improvements began Feb. 7.

After the four filters on Northeast Church Road are enlarged, town workers will stuff 100 pounds of filter material into each one through a little manhole sized opening in the top.

Whitman said he anticipates having the job finished and the water plant back in operation by March 1.

He said when all the filters are back in service, the town will flush out the entire water system, including fire hydrants.