Residents concerned with water issues

EAST LIVERPOOL – Heeding the complaints of several residents, the Board of Public Utilities Thursday resolved to find a solution to their dirty water issues.

Water Superintendent Tim Clark has, several times in the past, brought before the board the concerns of a resident in the Beechwood area about continuing dirty water due to her home being at the end of the water line.

At Thursday’s meeting, resident Cathy Santiago had her nephew, Joe Gianvito, an engineer, addressed the board about the issue. Other neighbors were also in the audience and agreed their water is also brown much of the time.

Gianvito said the problem has existed for more than two years and he is “pretty certain” part of the issue comes from a high iron content, saying he also has concerns about low disinfectant and disinfectant by-products that are known carcinogens.

Santiago said she has to send out her laundry to be done and buys “gallons and gallons” of water for consumption, noting, “I almost have a heart attack if one of my grandchildren comes in and turns on the water to get a drink.”

Line foreman Harry Williamson said flushers have been installed and have been running every night for a month on a timer and that new underground flushers have been purchased but not yet installed because of the lingering winter. He also noted that entails a “significant dig.”

He assured the residents, “We have not been ignoring (the problem).”

Bacteria tests of the water have been negative, according to chemist Tim Flores.

Board Vice President Fred Rayl initially asked the residents to “bear with us” until the underground flushers could be installed, but Gianvito pointed out that 36,000 gallons per night are being pushed through with the flushers that are in place which he said proves that alone is not going to solve the problem.

He suggested that the line, at 80 years old, has outlived its service life and should be replaced, estimating that cost to be between $50,000 and $60,000.

Williamson pointed out that amount is a “significant portion” of the water department’s budget.

Ultimately, the board decided to have engineer Dallis Dawson look at the site and provide some specifications and estimates for both a loop around the problem area and a new line.

“So, you’re not proposing a study, you’re proposing a solution?” Gianvito asked, to which board members and Utilities Director Bob Disch agreed.

Disch cautioned the residents that replacing the line would not be a quick fix, considering the engineering, designing, bidding and appropriation process required for such a project, predicting it could be fall before the project could start.

In other customer issues, the board heard from Globe Street resident William Holloway about a sewer line break and his concern that a new tap on the repaired line will cost him $650, but Disch assured him that cost is only for new customers, not for those already using the system.