Pluris Hosts Wedgefield Customer Information Meeting to Present Proposed Florida Department of Environmental Protection Approved Pilot Study for Treatment of TTHMs

February 2017

As part of the ongoing information process, Pluris scheduled an open meeting for all of our Wedgefield customers on Monday, February 6th, to inform customers of a potential solution to TTHMs.  More than 100 customers attended and presented in the following is a summary of the Power Point presentation. 

Two senior professional engineers from the firm Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. provided information and answered questions.  The two engineers, Lance Littrell and Steve Romano, designed and submitted an application for a pilot study for chlorine dioxide to address TTHMs to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (“FDEP”).   Also present at the meeting were two representatives of TwinOxide, the manufacturer of the pilot study equipment.

In November 2016, the FDEP approved the pilot study and issued a letter of approval.  The FDEP approval letter required that Pluris conduct extensive daily monitoring and testing.  Prior to the start of the study, one Wedgefield customer raised several issues, including what he believed were safety issues and formally petitioned the FDEP to conduct a hearing.

While awaiting the FDEP decision, Pluris decided to hold a customer informational meeting so that everyone could hear the presentation by the professional engineers and ask any questions. The informational meeting covered the following six questions:

  • Is the product safe for storage and generation in our residential neighborhood and is it explosive or flammable?
  • Does chlorine dioxide reduce the Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) including (TTHMs and HAA5s) in our drinking water?
  • Is the product approved for use in potable water?
  • Is this product safe to drink, bathe and wash?
  • What happens if the power fails due to an extreme weather event and the chlorine dioxide is stored onsite?
  • Will chlorine dioxide weaken the underground pipes causing leaks throughout the Wedgefield community?

Presented in the following are each of the six questions along with answers from the Kimley-Horn professional engineers and TwinOxide representatives.

Question 1

Is the product safe for storage and generation in our residential neighborhood and is it explosive or flammable? 

Answer

Yes. Both of the dry components used to make the chlorine dioxide solution and the chlorine dioxide solution itself are non-flammable and are non-explosive, per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approved Material Safety Data Sheet.  Neither the facility manufacturing of the product or the utilities using the product has had an explosion since the product’s first manufacture in 2003. Additional precautions are being implemented at the Wedgefield Utility to store the dry chemicals within a fire proof cabinet in an air conditioned building.

The following pictures are examples of where chlorine dioxide has been in use for years.

Johns Hopkins Hospital
Baltimore, MD

Chlorine Dioxide Generator located in the main Hospital Facility since 1988, and is being expanded to serve the entire campus
City of Hamilton, Ohio
(15 Million Gallons per Day)

Chlorine Dioxide treatment in the middle of a residential community
Val Vista Water Treatment Plant
Mesa, AZ
(72 Million Gallons per Day)

Chlorine Dioxide treatment in the middle of a densely populated residential community

Question 2

Does chlorine dioxide reduce the Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) including (TTHMs and HAA5s) in our drinking water?

Answer

Yes.  Both the field testing and laboratory tests simulating the existing, underground water distribution system yielded significant reductions in the disinfection byproducts regulated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  We anticipate the DBPs to be on the order of less than 25% of the regulatory limit and potentially below the detectible limit of the current laboratory equipment and analysis methods.

Question 3

Is the product approved for use in potable water?

Answer

Yes.  The product has undergone significant testing by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as the National Sanitation Foundation, which regulates all products that come into contact with drinking water, to confirm its safety for use within potable water systems.  The product has undergone over five years of testing to obtain this approval for use by these agencies. 

Question 4

Is this product safe to drink, bathe and wash?

Answer

Yes.   The Wedgefield Utility will be operating at a maximum regulatory mandated residual level of 0.3 mg/L, much lower than (less than half) the 0.8 mg/L regulatory limit administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  Additionally, continuous monitoring will be in place to ensure that the residual does not exceed the 0.3 mg/L during operation of the water treatment plant.

Question 5

What happens if the power fails due to an extreme weather event and the chlorine dioxide is stored onsite?

Answer

The Wedgefield Utility, like every other water utility is susceptible to power outages from extreme storms, hurricanes, etc.  The water treatment plant’s power supply is connected to a new emergency generator to maintain full operation of the Utility should power be lost.   

Question 6 

Will chlorine dioxide weaken the underground pipes causing leaks throughout the Wedgefield community?

Answer

Chlorine dioxide is less reactive than the current chlorine disinfectant and will not degrade the pipes currently in place within the community.  While it will reduce any bio-growth within the distribution system over time, it will not affect the structural integrity of the underground pipelines within the community.

 

In addition to the information provided by the Kimley-Horn professional engineers and TwinOxide representatives, a Wedgefield resident and customer present was Dr. Mohamed Abdelrahman who is considered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to be an expert in regards to Chlorine Dioxide. He has more than 30 years of experience and has served as a reviewer by the EPA on published materials. Presented in the following is a statement by Dr. Abdelrahman.

 

Personal Statement by Dr. Mohamed S. Abdelrahman

Wedgefield Resident regarding Chlorine Dioxide

Pluris Wedgefield, Inc. Customer Meeting February 6, 2017

 

I, Mohamed S. Abdelrahman, Ph.D. FCP, BCFE, am an Emeritus Professor at the New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers University residing at Wedgefield for the last ten years. As I said in my presentation at the February 6, 2017 Wedgefield Town Hall meeting, based on my 30 years’ experience I am an expert on chlorine dioxide health effects and metabolism. I and my graduate students have authored a wealth of publications on chlorine dioxide and I was chosen to review a book on the subject for the US EPA.

In my opinion, chlorine dioxide is much better than chlorine as a drinking water disinfectant because it eliminates the formation of THMs while completely killing bacteria and microorganisms. Also, chlorine dioxide makes the taste of the disinfected water better. It is worth noting, that chlorine dioxide has been used in Canada and Europe for more than fifty years and in the United States more than twenty million persons drink water treated with chlorine dioxide. I will be pleased if the water I drink in Wedgefield will be treated with chlorine dioxide.

One of the concerns at Wedgefield is the cost to produce safe drinking water. The cost to treat the wastewater at Wedgefield is at or below the cost of other Florida utilities including Orlando Utilities Commission, Cocoa City, Charlotte County and the City of Bunnell as examples. This though is lost on the cost to produce safe drinking water at Wedgefield. 

Pluris understands the cost is higher and it is based solely on the necessary treatment, and this is due to the quality of water in the Floridan Aquifer. Pluris did not create the water quality in the aquifer but we are mandated to provide safe drinking water in meeting the drinking water requirements set forth by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 

In a recent Orange County Board of County Commissioners’ meeting, Deputy Utility Director Todd Swingle, in responding to Commissioner Pete Clarke’s questions, affirmed the condition of the Floridan Aquifer and the need for advanced treatment that Pluris is providing. 

Presented in the following is a transcript excerpt from the Commissioners’ meeting.

Commissioner Pete Clark:

“Real quick.  I am just sitting here wondering.  I know we have our well fields where we get our water.  Where do they (Pluris) get their water?  Why are they having issues?  Are they in the lower aquifer?  Where are they drawing their water?”  

Deputy Utility Director Todd Swingle

“Their (Pluris) wells are also on the Floridan Aquifer.  Water quality does tend to decline as you move further to the east.” 

Commissioner Pete Clark

“Like salt intrusion?” 

Deputy Utility Director Todd Swingle: 

“There tends to be more organic content.  The organic content is naturally occurring but that’s what reacts to the chlorine to cause these disinfection by-products.”

Commissioner Pete Clark

“I was just curious because it seems like they use the same basic aquifer but I know there are different levels.” 

Deputy Utility Director Todd Swingle: 

“The farther east higher levels of treatment are typically required to achieve the drinking water standards.”