TROY — Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Jeff Monce said the city of Troy goes far beyond the state and federal requirements to ensure the city and its residents have safe drinking water each and every day.
Last week, Monce addressed a variety of questions related to the city of Troy’s drinking water and its safety. Safe drinking water in Flint, Mich., as well as the small northeast Ohio town of Sebring, has captured national attention due to its toxic water poisoning hundreds of residents and children for months.
“We test our production wells just in case something slips by or someone dumps something within it, we test those every month — that’s way beyond what we are required to do,” Monce said last week. “Troy really runs a tight ship here. It’s been like this. It didn’t start here with me, I’m just trying to carry the tradition on. We are lucky we are sitting in a good spot.”
Monce is not only responsible for the water quality for the residents of Troy, but also to several neighboring communities mostly south of the city.
“Outside of the city of Troy, we supply approximately 8,150 people, in areas of Miami County adjacent to the city of Troy, and in the villages of West Milton and Ludlow Falls,” Monce said. “The city of Troy Water Treatment Plant continuously monitors our process to ensure our product will be stable and in a near-equilibrium state, where it is absolutely not corrosive.”
Even when the city has a rare boil advisory, Monce said the precaution is taken to ensure the safety of those it affects, and during his 15 years as superintendent all tests have come back negative during the 24-hour advisory period.
“It’s required and it’s only common sense because we don’t want anyone getting sick,” Monce said. “We understand it inconveniences people and we try to grab samples as fast as we can because its a 24-hour test period.”
Monce said he can sympathize with the people of Michigan because it is harder to treat surface water such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs. The city of Troy is located on the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer which is a ground water source.
Monce said the city has “tightly controlled the chemistry of our water to maintain a protective calcium carbonate coating on the piping in our system.”
Monce said the coating is a common, effective and widely practiced technique. Monce said Troy uses “an industrial scale water softener” with a lime-soda softening system to remove hardness, adjust alkalinity and remove iron and other minerals from the raw ground water. The city also uses carbon dioxide to adjust the pH after softening to stabilize the water and to guarantee proper disinfection.
“There are essentially no contaminants to remove by flushing city of Troy water, except in the instance of main breaks or repairs to the water distribution system,” Monce said. “The rare need for flushing of trapped air (milky colored water) and turbidity (cloudiness from sediment) caused by repairs can be achieved in 5-10 minutes.”
Inside the water plant, a spotless chemistry lab tests the city water in a variety of ways around the clock.
“We further verify our hourly daily testing by conducting a very precise Ohio EPA-mandated stability index test every week to confirm the water is stable and non-corrosive,” Monce said. “The city of Troy has voluntarily conducted extensive annual samplings on our finished water for a wide range of substances for decades.”
The city of Troy is required by the Ohio EPA to perform annual testing to monitor its disinfection by-products and conducts compliance samples. Lead and copper sampling is done every three years by all public water systems. Monce said this testing will be performed this summer.
The city of Troy’s water undergoes daily testing for pH and disinfectant levels and chlorine residue. Every two hours, the water is tested for alkalinity and total hardness. Monce said every time a well is started, the raw well water is tested for bacteria.
On a monthly basis, Monce said the EPA requires 30 samples to be collected throughout Troy looking for contamination. Those tests are then sent off to a certified lab in Dublin, Ohio.
Each year, the Ohio EPA requires an annual sampling for a variety of chemicals, nitrates and nitrites and radionuclides. The tests are sent to the same lab in Dublin for independent analysis.
According to Monce, all personnel at the city of Troy Water Treatment Plant are Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) licensed Water Supply Operators.
“They are tested and certified regularly by OEPA experts to properly perform the necessary chemical testing of plant processes, Monce said. “Daily chemical and bacteriological tests are performed by city staff, employing strict procedures delineated by the OEPA.”
For those who have well water, the city also offers testing for $30 at the water treatment plant office on Staunton Road.
One of the factors in the Flint, Mich., water crisis was its aging water distribution pipes. According to Monce, approximately 55 percent of the city’s water pipes are 40 years old or less. The age breakdown of the pipes are as follows: 20 years old or less — 37.8 percent; 21 to 40 years old — 17.4 percent; 41 to 60 years old — 25.4 percent; 61 to 80 years — 6 percent; and more than 81 years old — 13.4 percent.
Monce explained the city follows its Master Water Plan to look for flow and use patterns in the city, as well as growth to add new water pipes and looping systems to the city.
“Additionally undersized and older mains are identified that need to be replaced. As part of any road reconstruction project we evaluate what, if any, existing underground utilities (water, sanitary and storm) need to be replaced, ” Monce said. “As with every city throughout the country, aging infrastructure is always a concern. This is a national issue and includes roadways, bridges and utility pipes in the ground. Having said that, Troy has been conscientious of our spending and maintenance of our assets.”
City of Troy Water Plant Superintendent Jeff Monce discusses the pressure zones Water Treatment facility in Troy.
City of Troy Water Plant Superintendent Jeff Monce describes the procedure of a stability index test and how it determines the amount of alkalinity level is in the water.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews