EPA-mandated UV system going in at sewer plant

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Posted March 27, 2014

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The Madison County Sanitary Sewer and Water District is moving forward with an EPA-mandated upgrade to the sewer plant at U.S. Route 42 and I-70.

Last year, the plant exceeded maximum levels allowed for the amount of disease causing bacteria in the system. The EPA also has further tightened its regulations. In response, the district is installing an ultraviolet disinfection system.

The mechanism looks like a large underwater tanning bed, according to Tom Taylor, operator of record for the sewer and water district. Ultraviolet rays disinfect material as it passes over the light tubes.

“It’s cleaner and more environmentally friendly than the chlorination process used now,” said Keith Doll of M-E/IBI Group, an engineering firm based in Westerville that coordinates projects for the Madison County commissioners.

The commissioners received two bids for installation of the system. They ap-proved the lower of the two bids, $87,500 submitted by Doll Layman Ltd. of Tipp City (no relation to Keith Doll of M-E). Their approval is contingent on M-E reviewing and approving the contract. Righter Co. Inc. of Columbus submitted the other bid, $119,785.

The water and sewer district plans to borrow money for the project from the county treasury. The loan will be for five years. The interest rate has not been set.

The water and sewer district has until May 1 to complete the upgrade, after which it will be subject to EPA fines if the upgrade is not complete.

“It’s going to be tight to get it done by May 1, but we hope to be operational,” Taylor said.

The EPA requires analysis for detection of the bacteria e.coli from May through October. In the past, regulations called for sampling material once a week for a broad range of disease-causing bacteria. The maximums allowed were 1,000 parts per million per week or 2,000 parts per million per month. Now, only sampling for e.coli is required. The maximums allowed are 150 parts per million per week or 360 parts per million per month.

The district already has one ultraviolet disinfection system in place. It serves the Lake Choctaw plant.

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