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St. C. water has algae issues

September 29, 2013
By ROBERT A. DEFRANK - Staff Writer , Times Leader

ST. CLAIRSVILLE The city is facing an algae infestation in the reservoirs, causing an unpleasant odor and taste to the residents' water. Service Director Dennis Bigler noted that this is a usual issue that the city looks out for since surface supply reservoirs are used. He added that normally, safeguards are in place to prevent the algae bloom.

"An algae bloom in the reservoirs have caused taste and odor problems," he said. "It's been in control for years, and now has grown to a problem. We're investigating why it's a problem. We're trying to determine why. We put procedures in place. We'll see why they're not working anymore."

He added that the EPA has issued a release about algae blooms in reservoirs, specifying that the phenomena is not dangerous, but results in a musty odor and taste.

He noted the normal safeguards involve treating the water with potassium permanganate to prevent it growing in the first place, however the treatment must be administered at the right time. Bigler said the temperature or rainfall may have contributed to create conditions favorable to the algae.

Currently, the city is increasing carbon feeds and changing the carbon used.

However, once the algae is in the reservoir, the customers will not see any difference until the weather changes. The problem is expected to continue until October or November.

"Unfortunately this is a problem that, once it develops, is not easy to correct," he said. "It's safe, but it's unpleasant. We understand that and we sympathize. Surface water is volatile and difficult to treat."

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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