An answer for the water?

Published: Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 09:41 AM.

The city of Port St. Joe took another step in the direction of solving the riddle of discolored water Tuesday night.

City commissioners approved a proposal from Larry McClamma, supervisor of the surface water plant, to undertake a pilot study for a new treatment alternative.

McClamma is proposing to work with an engineer from the Florida Rural Water Association to begin pretreatment of the water with lime.

The hope is that introducing the lime will reduce the amount of manganese in the water.

A yearlong pilot study of the water performed by CDM Smith, the company that designed the water plant, and Virginia Tech University identified iron and manganese as the likely culprits for the chronic discoloration of water coming from the plant.

Iron, which was believed to a problem in turning water red from the outset once the new plant went online nearly four years ago, is being largely addressed through the replacement of aging, copper- and iron-based pipes in the distribution system.

Over the past 18 months, as pipes have been replaced in large swaths of the city, the number of red water complaints has declined.

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