LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. - Great news for customers of the West Morgan East Lawrence Water Authority. Their new water filtration system is now online. It means customers will no longer have to buy bottled water or worry about whats in the water coming out of their taps.
Don Sims, the General Manager of the West Morgan East Lawrence Water Authority, told us the new granulated activated carbon filtration system would be online in late September. And true to his word, they opened the valves and began pumping water through the new system last Friday at noon.
The water is still treated inside the plant first. It's then pumped through at least two of the four new GAC filter tanks. Two more GAC filter tanks are scheduled to be delivered soon and they will be incorporated into the system.
Workers have taken several samples of the newly treated water to be sent off for analysis and to be tested for PFOA and PFOS contamination. Sims says he expects the levels will be so low it may not even show up in the tests.
Meanwhile, the water authority's lawsuit against 3M, who produced the PFOA and PFOS contaminants, is slowly working its way through the system. Sims and his attorney say it's only fair that the people who created the pollution pay to have it removed.
“Our goal against 3M is to make sure there's a permanent solution for this water issue, which is the reverse osmosis, according to attorney Carl Cole. He adds, “So we've got to really look at it in the context of short term goals, long term goals and then the ultimate goal."
Sims says they're now delivering to their customers the cleanest and purest water they've ever produced, and there should be absolutely no concerns from anyone about drinking it or using it. That includes expectant and nursing mothers, and using the water to mix baby formula. But he says he's still not satisfied and won't be until an even more advanced filtration system, the reverse osmosis system is put online. And that's still several years away.
The new GAC filter system is expected to capture at least 99.9% of the PFOA and PFOS contamination in water taken from the Tennessee River. Sims is still pushing for the more advanced system designed to capture other industrial pollutants that are not yet regulated.