Boil advisory was the first step

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, August 28, 2013
A recent boil advisory that lasted Monday through Wednesday was part of the city's first step to improve water quality in West Liberty.

For the last few years the city council has discussed improving the water plant. Last month it approved a $1 million bid by Wendler Engineering and Construction of Amana to begin the first phase in the process.

Wendler Construction will expand the old water plant, as well as install a new iron removal filter that is the first step in water treatment.

"We've been having problems with the old one," said City Manager Chris Ward. "It's over 30 years old and needs to be replaced."

However, before they could replace the old sealed filter with a new open concrete one, they needed to both change and relocate a pipe that transports water from the plant to storage after being treated.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) required the city to post a 48-hour water boil advisory, in case contaminates got into the water during the pipe relocation.

Fortunately, no contaminates were found. The water was tested two times, and both times it was found to be safe and clean, according to Ward.

He added that the new filter should improve water quality significantly. The old filter was rusted on the inside and outside, plus it wasn't doing its job correctly. The new one should remove more iron and the rust color it causes in the city's water.

While there are currently no plans for more city advisories regarding water boiling, there is a possibility it could happen again. The city approved the water improvement project itself, it wasn't required to do so by a third party.

The first phase of water quality improvement should be mostly completed by the middle of January, according to Wendler Construction. Then the city will go ahead with phase two.

The second phase, the reason the water plant needs to be expanded, involves installation of a secondary water treatment process known as electoral dialysis reversal (EDR).

While the iron removal filter captures large dirt and pollutants, EDR shocks the water with electricity afterward, causing anything that isn't pure water to stick to surrounding magnets.

Until this point West Liberty has only used an iron removal filter to purify the water in the city.

However, the Iowa DNR will not let the city put out bids for the second phase until the first is finished, so it is unable to calculate the costs currently.
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