Ammonia stalls London water plant

(Posted Oct. 10, 2018)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Due to elevated ammonia levels, London’s second water plant won’t go online until early next year.

The plant, located on East High Street near Deer Creek Honey Farms, was scheduled to be operational this past February. Construction delays pushed that date to May, at which time tests revealed the ammonia issue.

“I was surprised a test for that was not done prior, but it is not required by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) until the plant is in full operation,” said Stan Kavy of the London Board of Public Utilities (BPU).

According to Kavy, the ammonia levels in both wells at the site tested “slightly over” the maximum standards set by EPA. He said the issue exists in the water and is not due to ground contamination. BPU is looking at options for fixing the issue.

The EPA and the engineering firm for the project recommend that the city install an additional filtering system. Kavy said the system is about the size of a 55-gallon drum and easy to install.

“The treatment is cheap relative to the cost of the whole plant,” he said, but he did not release a specific dollar amount. “I think it will be in our budget (for the plant).”

The new plant is a satellite to the city’s main plant. It and the new one-million-gallon water tower cost a total of $10.2 million to build. The city is financing the project through two low-interest loans from the Ohio Water Development Authority. A 20-year loan covers the plant; a 30-year loan covers the tower. The water tower has been operational for over a year.

Final cost estimates on the additional filtration equipment are expected in 30 to 60 days, Kavy said.

In the meantime, the city is constantly pumping water through the wells in an effort to naturally reduce the ammonia levels to acceptable levels. While this could do the trick, Kavy said it’s more likely the filtration equipment will be needed.

The city also is drilling a 300-foot deep test well at the site to see what the ammonia level and water quality are like at that depth. The existing two wells are each 150 to 160 feet deep.

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