St. Clairsville Can Breathe Easier With Change at Wastewater Plant

Photo by Robert A. DeFrank Kendal Weisend, water and wastewater superintendent for St. Clairsville, looks over the delivery system for chlorine tablets to treat the city’s wastewater. The new system is in the process of being installed.

After a delay of some months, the city’s long-awaited transition to using chlorine tablets rather than chlorine gas in wastewater treatment began this past week.

Last August, the city had two reported leaks at the treatment plant about 10 days apart. The first incident involved sulfur dioxide and posed no danger, but the second leak involved deadly chlorine gas. In the aftermath of those incidents, city officials debated less hazardous methods of treating the wastewater. They discussed options such as changing the delivery method to foregoing chlorine altogether and installing an ultraviolet treatment system, but decided that the most practical and feasible move was the use of Accu-Tab chlorine tablets.

“They’ve started doing some of the piping,” Safety and Service Director Jim Zucal said.

“We’re in the initial phases of preparing that site and putting in the new equipment to use the dry chlorine,” Zucal said. “Within about a week we’ll have that done.”

Zucal said the cost of the changeover is about $20,000.

“It’s really a great system because it’s dry chlorine,” he said. “Once the sewage and the waste is treated and the solids are taken out, then the liquid comes through, and it’s chlorinated…What this used to be was we injected gas into the water. Now it runs through a basket that has these dry pucks. That water’s flowing through the basket, which is cylinder. It’s doing the same thing.”

Zucal said the solution will eliminate a sources of danger because the process will no longer use toxic gas.

The city originally had hoped to begin summer using the tablet method, but the changeover was unexpectedly held up when it learned the city would require a permit from the state Environmental Protection Agency to install it.

Total Equipment of Pittsburgh is handling the changeover. There have been some delays in scheduling the work, but it could be completed soon.

“They’ve worked on some electrical components,” said Kendal Weisend, water and wastewater superintendent. “They’ve started to put in containers to hold the catalyst,” he said. “Once it is operational it will be all tablets. There will not be any gas down here.”

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