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Giannettino: More Testing Needed for Auburn Water Treatment Process


How is the City of Auburn keeping toxins associated with Harmful Algal Blooms out of the water supply?

City Council received an update at its Thursday meeting from Director of Municipal Utilities Seth Jensen on a study looking at the city’s water treatment process. Speaking on FLX Morning, Councilor Jimmy Giannettino summarized the findings.

“What the study showed is we are currently using the appropriate treatment process, the appropriate carbon, so we are still able to provide clean safe drinking water. The drinking water has been non detect so far for microcystins.”

The study also looked at how much longer the carbon treatment system will be effective against increased levels of microcystins in the water.

Testing for the study was done in a controlled environment using synthetic microcystins. Further testing could take microcystins from Owasco Lake, freeze them, and test them over the winter.

The consensus at the meeting was that the further tests need to be done. This would be an expensive endeavor, something Giannettino believes warrants help from New York State.

“In 2016, the state did come through when we requested a treatment system and they delivered the money for that, but, at the same time, we said the long-term goal was the protection of Owasco Lake and that’s where the state’s failed us.”

Continuing from last week’s meeting, at this week’s City Council meeting, the council will vote on a resolution requesting New York State adopt a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), a maximum amount of pollutants allowed to enter a waterbody so it will meet water quality standards, for the lake. Council has been requesting a TMDL annually since 2016.

Auburn provides drinking water to residents in Auburn, Aurelius, Brutus, Cayuga, Felming (Water District 6), Mentz, Montezuma, Port Byron, Sennett, Springport (Water District 2), Throop, and Weedsport, totalling 45,000 people

Jensen’s full presentation to City Council can be viewed on the city’s website.

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