New water treatment method could save city $1.5 million a year

March 03, 2009

The City of Akron could potentially save $1.5 million a year on water treatment expenses if a new treatment process authorized by Akron City Council proves successful.

Council Monday night passed an ordinance authorizing the city's Director of Public Service to contract with Aquamark Inc. to purchase an alternative water treatment chemical to use in a 60-day, EPA-approved test at the Akron Water Plant.

The city will spend $74,500 to purchase five 4,500-gallon truckloads of aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH) to test as an alternative coagulant for aluminum sulfate, or alum. Use of ACH in the place of alum is believed to eliminate the need for a companion chemical known as caustic soda. The city now uses caustic soda to balance pH levels in treated water. High pH levels can cause unwanted materials deposits in pipes. Low levels could leach metals out of pipes.

 "It looks like aluminum chlorohydrate is potentially a more efficient chemical to use, which is probably why we're going to save," said Council's Public Utilities Committee Chair Ken Jones (W-5). "If we're going to save some money it is worth our while to test this emerging water treatment technology, which I understand has been used successfully in smaller cities."

Aquamark, of Newbury, Ohio, specializes in products and chemistry for the treatment of water, waste water, solids dewatering and metal precipitation. Testing is set to begin sometime next week.