The city has taken the first step to enter a test period of eliminating the practice of adding chlorine to the city drinking water.
City Administrator Harold Selby will ask for a meeting with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to discuss the plan for a temporary halt of chlorine.
Ward 1 Alderman Ed Gass, former city public works director, asked for the discussion with DNR and the no-chlorine trial at the Feb. 5 board of aldermen meeting.
Selby put forth a proposal to change the storage system of fluoride and chlorine from 150-gallon drums to 630-gallon storage tanks.
“We would get a reduced price on both chemicals,” Selby said. “We’re trying to get a grant from MIRMA for part of the cost.”
Gass said that while chlorine is required to clean lines and tanks following a water main break that could include contamination at the site of the break that the main drinking water supply is pure and chlorine may not be needed.
“The water is pure when it comes out of the ground,” he said. “We could stop chlorination for a while and see how tests come back. If we get good samples then we’re OK.”
Gass suggested that Selby meet with Tom Siegel with DNR.
“If Tom Siegel is OK with stopping for a while, let’s stop for a while,” he said.
Alderman Mike Bates agreed saying over the years he has received many complaints from residents about the taste of chlorine in the city’s drinking water.
“I hear complaints all the time that people taste chlorine in the water,” Bates said.
Businessman Jeff Palmore said there is a way to eliminate the chlorine taste from drinking water.
“When DNR requires a sand filter system they require chlorination of that effluent then de-chlorinate to remove odor and taste,” Palmore said. “I don’t know how expensive it is, but it would eliminate the taste.”
The city will continue to add fluoride to the water, which will be stored in the larger tanks. Gass suggested that the city buy tanks for fluoride and install them.
“If the state doesn’t approve the no-chlorination trial, we should buy chlorine tanks also,” he said. “We should give Harold (Selby) the authority to buy tanks.”