Bloomington water treatment to step up testing

[USA] The City of Bloomington will be testing more regularly for cyanobacterial toxins caused by harmful algae blooms beginning this summer. Water Quality Coordinator Rachel Atz told the Bloomington Utilities Service Board last night that harmful algal blooms were spotted at the point where water enters the Lake Monroe treatment plant. Atz said data from recent testing for cyanobacterial toxins showed no cause for alarm. However, the  observation of algal blooms combined with a June 2015 EPA health advisory on the toxins they can produce prompted the City to plan more regular testing.  “We do plan to put together a more aggressive plan this summer in anticipation of an upcoming EPA rule,” Atz explains.

In other business, Interim Director of City Utilities John Langley reported a mechanical failure at the City’s Dillman Road Wastewater Treatment Plant caused an overflow of approximately 500 gallons of sludge into Clear Creek.  Langley said that on Friday, March 4th, a rotary screen in a  remote section of the plant became clogged, causing material to back up. An operator discovered the situation and began cleanup within thirty minutes. “We inspected the creek. We noticed some staining at the point where the ditch runs into the creek, but we did not have massive amounts of sludge flowing into the creek,” says Langley.

Langley said operators recently completed spill training at that location. Two inspections of Clear Creek were conducted Friday night, and one inspection occurred Saturday morning. Board President Sam Frank asked how this type of failure might be prevented in the future.  “We’re going to try to come up with some sort of remote alarm system that tells the operator when this thing stops turning,” Langley responded.

Board member Julie Roberts expressed concern about wildlife and humans who come in contact with the creek.  She asked how long it would take for the sludge to flow out of the county. Langley responded by saying his Department saw no indication the sludge caused any disturbance to wildlife.  “The first thing that happens is it gets very dilute that’s why why he was looking for any life that was impacted,” says Langley. “In this case, we did not notice any fish or anything like that.”

Langley also reported the addition of new technology in the department. A seventeen-hundred-dollar UV organics monitor allows plant operators to more efficiently determine chemical settings.

 

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