Tab for the tap

Published: Friday, December 14, 2012 at 10:58 AM.

The end of that release spoke to the grant as being part of the district’s overall regional goal of moving Gulf and Franklin counties to surface water sources.

The NWFWMD should in turn play a far more proactive role in the process of solving this problem because in the last few years since the new water plant went online there have been far too many instances in which indicators were there of what trouble could be coming and largely considered as risk/reward issues.

After the fact did we learn that a pilot study performed prior to the purchase of the microfiltration system at the heart of the plant and before the plant was designed that there were indications that once this more caustic water, due to changes in chemical treatment, hit the distribution pipes there was potential for trouble.

All one had to consider was that the city lacked a cohesive map of the system, that some valves and other key features of the system could not be located or were in places not expected, to consider that if there was a potential, that potential was likely enhanced by the lack of knowledge and maintenance of the distribution system.

Only after the fact, years after in fact, did contractors perform a thorough walk-through of the plant to discover a series of potential design and maintenance problems that the city either had no knowledge of or was in no position to fix.

And one thing that walk-through demonstrated was that communication between the various parties involved in bringing that plant online – the city’s engineers, the designer, the producer of the filtration system, city staff – had gaps in communication that proved, in the end, to be costly – to users of the water.

That has been the outcome here – experts from the state on down assumed risks and when the risks reared their ugly head, the costs have been largely borne by the city and its utility users.

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