Four years on, still few answers on water for PSJ

Published: Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 09:26 AM.

And from the outset the city has had issues providing clear water from the tap.

Problems with the plant, treatment protocols, maintenance and upkeep of a new system and equipment were compounded by a water distribution system that in parts dated to the Depression.

The combination of the caustic water, old pipes and treating chemicals combined to turn the water red-to-brown in large swaths of the distribution system – one of the headaches throughout has been the randomness of problems.

While the city’s engineers said they noted a “potential” for problems due to old pipes, the extent and intractability of those problems, which scoured washed clothes, rendered water unpalatable, clogged up home water filters among other impacts, seemed to catch all off guard.

The rates the city has been charging for water, as well as ongoing problems of quality, were also spurred from outside City Hall, including a town hall meeting held before a standing-room-only crowd at the Centennial Building.

The Board of County Commissioners, specifically former commissioner Bill Williams, publicly assailed the city for its water and prices and during a pan-frying of Mayor Mel Magidson in one meeting said the city could not justify its rates without a rate study.

That study in turn highlighted that based on the cost of producing a gallon of water combined with the debt the city was taking on with infrastructure, the city was actually charging less than it should to meet its bills.

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