Too pristine? Concordia District tries to remove color from water

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 30, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – It never fails – either you have too many minerals in your water, or you don’t have enough. The water being produced by Concordia Waterworks District No. 1’s new water plant near Lake St. John is so pristine that crews are having trouble getting the color out of the water it produces.

&uot;The equipment we have (in the plant) now was supposed to take the color out,&uot;&160;said project engineer Bryant Hammett. &uot;But neither I&160;nor the water board is satisfied with the quality of the water the plant is now producing.&uot;

Usually, color binds to minerals such as iron or manganese. And it is fairly easy to find chemicals that will bind to those minerals and extract them from water, Hammett said.

Email newsletter signup

But in the case of the water the new plant is getting from an aquifer near the lake, few minerals are present. So far, crews have spent more than two months trying to find a combination of chemicals that will bind to the color itself.

Actually, some combinations of chemicals will take most of the color out, Hammett said. But the cost of such chemicals is too high, and the polymers necessary to bind the color clog the plant’s filters in 10 hours.

Usually, a plant could run for 40 hours before its filters would need to be washed out.

&uot;We want to improve that run time and reduce the cost as much as possible,&uot;&160;Hammett said.

A smaller &uot;pilot&uot; water plant will be installed as soon as possible, and a chemist from New Jersey company Hungerford and Terry, the plant’s manufacturers, should arrive in the area Monday.

Using that smaller, premanufactured plant, crews should be able to better perfect that chemical mix, Hammett said.

&uot;Everyone is frustrated, and I&160;understand that,&uot;&160;he said. &uot;But we need to make sure this plant is working right before we close the existing plant (on Louisiana 15) and become totally dependent on the new one.&uot;