Council approves fix for water discoloration

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By Carol McIntire
Carrollton Council approved spending $197,000 to purchase new filters for the village’s water plant, but not before council fired several questions at the department superintendent.
Several village residents attended a Jan. 2 special meeting, many with concerns over discolored water in their homes.
Water Superintendent Derik Kaltenbaugh acknowledged the filters are the cause of the discoloration of water in some sections of town as the filters are not working properly and allowing manganese to get through the plant into the water supply.
“The filters need to be replaced,” Kaltenbaugh said. The air is not working in them like it should when you are doing the back wash.”
The plant is equipped with 10 filters and each filter has two cells,” Kaltenbaugh explained.

“We’ve gotten 10 years out of them, which is pretty good.”
Councilman Cory Yeager said he spoke with a couple residents from different areas of the village prior to the meeting. One said there was a noticeable improvement in the water; the other said if there was improvement, it was minimal.
“We regenerated twice,” Kaltenbaugh responded. “There has been improvement, but not to where it we want it to be. I don’t think we’re going to get where we need to be without replacing them.
Yeager asked if any of the discoloration could be caused by aging pipes.
Kaltenbaugh responded the entire problem is coming from the plant.
Council President Wilma Lambert said when the discoloration began, she was told there were a couple areas where iron was coming through and the water department could get it taken care of.
“It did calm down. My question is, how will replacing the filters stop that from coming in?”
“Right now, it is not taking the iron out,” Kaltenbaugh responded. “With the new media in there it is going to take the iron and manganese out.”
Lambert asked if there is anything leaking into the water system that should be corrected before new filters are installed.
“No,” replied Kaltenbaugh.
Councilman Chris Barto’s question was as to the length of time it will take to get the filters once the action is approved.
“They put us ahead of three people, but I don’t know how long it will take.” We will know tomorrow when we say yes, it’s a go…hopefully this month.”
Councilwoman Brittany Tangler asked if the filters have a warranty.
“No,” Kaltenbaugh responded.
One problem facing the department, according to Kaltenbaugh is the village’s water supply is down this year due to the lack of rainfall.
“With not a lot of rain this year, all the wells are down. We tested all the wells, and some are high in manganese. Justin (employee) went out and flushed them and we tried to switch to wells that weren’t pumping as much manganese. That’s why you are seeing a difference right now. We are trying to do whatever we can do to make it better.”
The village has 10 water wells.
“Is there any danger we are going to run out of water?” asked Councilman Tom White.
“No,” Kaltenbaugh replied, adding, “As you get lower, you run into the worst water. By spring it will be back up to where it always is.”
“These things cost $197,000 which is why we are asking all these questions,” Barto added.
“Do we have a plan B in case we change the filters, and everyone is still experiencing the same problem?” Tangler asked.
“They won’t, Kaltenbaugh said in a reassuring voice. “Replacing the filters is all that’s left. We’ve done everything else.”
Council approved the ordinance as an emergency measure.
Councilman Dan Locke noted village departments are to be self-sustaining and asked where the funds will come from.
Kaltenbaugh replied, “My budget” which led to a new discussion on capital water projects in the village.
Tangler asked if the department had to give up another project in exchange for the filters.
“We haven’t done a project since COVID,” Kaltenbaugh said. “What would have cost us $150,000 is now $350,000. And, with our rates where they are, we’re not eligible for grants. We cannot even apply for grants. The EPA said we are not even close to where we are supposed to be with our water bills. We have tried to keep it that way. For years we took it out of our budget and did a project, but lately we haven’t been able to do it. The money we got to replace the pipes out there…that is our project this year.”
The filters will be ordered through Kurita America, Inc., located in St. Michael, MN.

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