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Lawmakers Told Filters Never Shut Off At WV American, Filters May Take Four Months To Change

Reported: Jan. 31, 2014 2:30 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 31, 2014 6:29 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Bob Aaron, Jeff Morris) -- Lawmakers were told Thursday night that West Virginia American Water never shut its intake off after a chemical spill in the Elk River, and they were informed it will take four months to change the filters.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin informed lawmakers of the latest development. Lawmakers from the nine affected counties were invited.

In a statement from the water company, spokeswoman Laura Jordan said Friday that the company is "taking proactive steps to ensure our treatment process is not perceived as being compromised."

"Activated carbon is an enhanced form of treatment that provides an absorption capacity far greater than traditional filtering media," Jordan said. "Changing out 60,000 pounds of activated carbon per filter is a physical process that typically takes two to three days each. This will be completed as soon as conditions permit, but it
cannot be completed at this time or all at once. It will need to be done in
a phased approach to ensure plant performance is not affected. We will
proceed as soon as production volumes are low enough to allow the physical
exchange process to begin.

"We are not aware of any possible detrimental effects on our treatment
processes related to carbon filters or otherwise. The plant continues to be
in compliance with all regulated standards including the 1 ppm protective
health guidance set by the CDC for MCHM. Activated carbon caps on our 16
filters are renewed or changed periodically as part of our normal operations. Regular backwashing, which cleans and flushes filters, is part of our plant’s normal operating procedures and has been occurring twice as often as normal.

"Potassium Permanganate dosing to the raw water has been increased to oxidize organic compounds, and Powder Activated Carbon continues to be added to the raw water for additional absorptive capacity."



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