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Monday, January 13, 2014
Powder Activated Carbon Usage
Over the past few years, Columbus’ water source (Lake Oliver) has contained a higher amount of algae comLabponents, MIB and Geosmin; this is a fancy way of saying that there are natural compounds giving the drinking water a funny smell and taste.  Even though it is completely safe to drink these compounds, we don’t want our water to smell or taste funny.  So, to get rid of the funny taste and smell, Columbus Water Works (CWW) uses a powdered activated carbon (PAC), as needed.  The PAC absorbs the offensive compounds, which are then removed by filtration.

One way to control costs of using the powdered activated carbon is to prevent the reason it’s needed. Therefore, CWW purchased covers for each of the sedimentation basins, reducing the growth of algae, the source of the strange taste and odor. 

In addition to purchasing covers, CWW also bought new lab equipment to perform MIB and Geosmin tests in-house.  By doing these tests at our own laboratory, we are able to monitor the taste and odor causing compounds on a real time basis and administer carbon as needed.  Before testing at our own facility, CWW would send the tests off and wait several days for results.  While waiting for the results, carbon was used, possibly more than necessary, costing more in materials.  These few changes alone have resulted in a substantial savings from 2012 to 2013. 

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