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Iron in water causes setback in Lewisport RO Pilot Study

Lewisport City Council met on Thursday evening, August 17th, and Engineer Bryan Lovan, Co-Owner of Bluegrass Engineering, explained how they’ve been meeting some challenges in the water plant study, due to iron build-up in the water. Three Code Enforcement Board members were approved by the council as well.

Update on RO Project

The reverse osmosis (RO) water plant pilot study designed by Bluegrass Engineering has been ongoing for about a month now in Lewisport, and Engineer Bryan Lovan provided an update on their progress so far. “We finally, hopefully, we’ve got all the bugs worked out,” Lovan said. “I know it’s been a hard 4 weeks. A lot of the guys in the city have really helped out. We’ve been working diligently.

We got the pilot unit first started-up about the middle of July. https://www.hancockclarion.com/2023/07/26/reverse-osmosis-pilot-plant-study-in-lewisport-receiving-state-recognition/

We have cartridge filters and they got clogged up with iron. We changed those and the next day they clogged up again. We went through that about 3 times. We found out that well #3 had a lot of iron build-up. I talked to Jason (Roberts, City Admin.) and I believe you all (council) gave approval to clean well #3. We had a company come in and clean that well last week. They spent about 4 days cleaning it. After they cleaned the well, we cleaned the RO membrane skid.

We’ve cleaned everything and tested everything out, and this afternoon (last Thurs.) I got it back up and running. It was running at 6:30 p.m. I checked it just before I came to this meeting to make sure. I’m hoping that we don’t have any issues, we’ve got it all worked out, we can go from this point forward and have some good information & good data. Everything is looking good. Jason and the guys are going to be checking it on a daily basis.”

This pilot study will use a membrane system installed according to EPA standards for removing PFAS (long-lasting chemicals with components that break down very slowly over time, i.e. ‘forever chemicals’ from plastics such as Teflon). The Division of Water  nominated (RO) water plant pilot study for an EPA Grant that would allow testing done through the EPA’s top lab analyst and chemists in the nation.

Lovan showed council members photos of the well before and after it was cleaned, and also provided video footage. It was stated that the wells are cleaned on a 3-year rotation, and it had been 3 years since that well had last been cleaned. The other two wells will need to be cleaned again, according to when they were last cleaned – if they stay on the same rotation, and if not, then sooner. One of the wells was cleaned just a year ago, and the other one was cleaned 2 years ago.

Layne Christensen Company’s estimated cost for the well rehab was $28,250, which included 3 separate treatments to remove the hard deposits – bleaching, acid treatment and a finishing with bleach & polymer dispersant treatment.

Mayor Chad Gregory asked, “What is the lifespan on these cartridge filters?” Lovan answered, “Typically, 3-6 months on a full-scale. Last week while they were cleaning it, we added another filter in front of those cartridge filters. We’ve  got what’s called a bag filter, then we have the cartridge filters, and the membrane filters.”

“How long did it take before these cartridges became foul?” Gregory asked. Lovan answered, less than 24 hours, and added, “Hopefully, we’re out of the woods now and we’ll have no issues going forward.”

Lovan said he had planned to take council members on a tour of the project site, located behind the Lewisport Library, before the meeting. He rescheduled the tour for next month’s meeting. “Next month, before the city council meeting,” he said, “I’ll be back and maybe you can come over and I’ll give you a tour and try to let you see what it’s all about.”

Code Enforcement Board

Gregory stated that approval from the council was needed for the Code Enforcement Board members. Members are: Julie Vogt (Arterberry), Jonathon Singleton and Kim Staples. The council approved those members and they will be sworn-in at a later date.

East Daviess Interconnect

“This resolution, again, for the East Daviess County Interconnect,” Gregory stated, “we put it in the last council meeting, but the (KY Infrastructure Authority -KIA) grant assistance letter didn’t come until Friday. It’s the same one we did last month. It doesn’t have to be read aloud. If you have any questions on it, feel free to ask.”

That resolution was approved by the council after review, and takes effect on 8-17-2023. The KY General Assembly during the 2022 regular session has appropriated funds for infrastructure projects such as these, in HB1 for the Cleaner Water Program.

Public Works

Superintendent R.J. Simpson reported that everything is going well and they’ve been cleaning out tiles & ditches, and trying to keep everything managed. “We’ve been trying to keep up with the grass,” he said, “and spraying weeds. We’ve bush hogged right-of-ways. We’ve put a couple of gas services in the last week or two. We worked on the tile plant quite a bit. The black toppers have gotten the roads looking pretty nice.

Summer help was really good, some of the best we’ve had. They are good boys, both of them that we had. They did everything we told them and didn’t mess around about it. They took care of the equipment, as far as maintenance.”

Police Dept.

Lewisport Chief of Police Greg Linn said, “An update on Nick (Boling) – he had his 3rd academic accumulative test on Monday and scored a 98. Tomorrow he finishes week-13, and has 7 more to go. He’s doing really well. I completed online, mandatory training earlier this week, and everything else is going smooth.”

By Jennifer Wimmer

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