CPW reports on gradual drop in geosmin, damaged natural gas lines

SHOW AND TELL – Commissioners with the Laurens CPW look over documents after being shown a piece of the 40-foot gas line ripped open by DOT contractors Monday. Photos by Judith L. Brown

Laurens, S.C. – Commissioners for the Laurens Commission of Public Works were given a briefing Monday evening on the utility’s water quality issues over the last six weeks, and CPW General Manager John Young said testing has shown the geosmin levels in the finished water and in Lake Rabon have begun to go down slightly after the CPW was allowed to begin treatments with EarthTec on July 30.

“The most recent results were due in Wednesday  this week, but the results from Aug. 5 were 514 nanograms (ng) per liter, down 20 ng from Aug. 1.
“In the finished water – the water leaving the treatment plant – the numbers as of Aug. 5 were 14.5 ng per liter, down from 19.1 ng per liter Aug. 1,” Young said. “And we expect this new test results to be even lower.”
Young said if the EarthTec system can take care of the problem completely then there is a chance the utility might not a need to add a complex carbon filtration system.
“This is a very large and complicated piece of equipment that will have to be custom made for our facility and that’s why it’s a lengthy process,” Young said, explaining that water would have to be filtered through potentially thousands of pounds of carbon every day. “We won’t even be able to start the carbon for awhile yet because we’re still working on the engineering designs.”
DHEC would then have to accept the changes.
Commissioners also learned that contractors working that very morning for the Department of Transportation had badly damaged a natural gas line near the airport on Torrington Road.
“It was a pretty dangerous situation,” Young said. “It could have gone very badly.”
The commissioners were able to see a piece of the pipe which had been brought in from the Monday morning accident, which caused the natural gas to be cut off for about 40 customers, including the Memorial Home for the Aged.
“We had crews planning to work on several projects and they were pretty much all working on this,” Young said.
Young said the DOT is working to widen the road in that area, and it appears that the machine which is designed to break up the asphalt dug much deeper in the soil beyond the road.
About 40 feet of the thick 4-inch natural gas lines were destroyed and then repaired by CPW staff by late Monday afternoon.
Commissioners also were told the utility company may pre-purchase some of its natural gas for the fall and winter months. Currently, natural gas is at high production levels and its prices are very low.
The commissioners tabled a discussion on potential changes in vacation policies which would make the utility more competitive in employee recruitment and retention. They plan to bring it up again in the September meeting.

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