By Charlene DeCrease
Williamston Post staff writer
Citizens of Williamston are currently taking on a great burden with the quality of their homes water. Effective July 7, Williamston significantly raised the water rate for the city.
At the city council meeting held Sept. 23, Scott VanAllsburg of the Williamston water held a presentation planning commission presented a water system update. The presentation highlighted the problems residents were experiencing as well as some potential solutions.
Residents attending the meeting spoke of smelling chlorine and sulfur in their water, as well as discoloration. In severe cases, the resident’s water would appear orange due to high levels of iron in the water.
“When we run the water heater or especially when we do laundry, we get a heavy sulfur smell,” said Noah Belanger, resident of Williamston.
According to the presentation, the main issues are caused by old cast iron pipes and aggressive cleaning.
The pipes were installed from 1927-1959 with no internal coating. Since these pipes are so old, they have several years of iron buildup, according to the presentation. Aggressive cleaning of the water system through multi-direction flushing has also contributed to the poor quality of water, according to the presentation.
“It was maybe four weeks ago when it started back up again, and worse than it ever was before,” said Stephanie Chandel, resident of Williamston.
The commission agree feels the best solutions would include an adjusted chlorine level, converting its system to 100 percent orthophosphate, according to the presentation. Ultimately, the city will have to replace the pipes. Commission stressed the pipes should be replaced in Winter 2013/14, said VanAllsburg.
City Council members spoke of how the money to do such a project is not available and the project might have to be put off until 2017. In the meantime, grants are being researched to help reduce or completely cover the replacement of the city’s pipes.
A water tower functions as a reservoir to connect the residences and a pump station. This is the water tower for the city of Williamston.