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On Monday the City Council passed a proposal to run a test to see if Eudora water can be improved.

Eudora City Administrator John Harrenstein, along with several members of the Public Works Department and Doug Smith, the  water consultant for the city, proposed a program that will last for eight weeks, with the goal being to diagnose and potentially improve the water quality in the city.

“The City Council identified at retreats held earlier this year that one of the top goals was to improve the quality of water,” Harrenstein stated. “This is designed to help meet that goal.”

Smith told the Council that to improve the quality of water, we need to have more frequent testing of various levels including Phenolphthalien alkalinity, Total alkalinity, pH and total hardness.

“People constantly think that most of those little white particles floating in the water is lime.  That’s not the case. Most of that is calcium,” Smith said.

Currently the hardness of Eudora water is approximately 350 – 400 mg/l (milligrams per litre) with the desired level being 100 – 140 mg/l according to chart provided to the City Council by Smith.

During the test, the City will add more lime to the water and elevate the pH in the raw water to reduce the calcium.  Also, the City water plant will be staffed by Public Works personnel for the 13 to 16 hours the plant is in operation. Currently the plant is staffed for 8 hours a day.

Not only will tests on the raw water at the plant be conducted on a much more frequent basis, tests will also be conducted at 8 different sites throughout the city.  These include the two convenience stores in town, two school buildings and many city office buildings.  In addition, 32 fire hydrants will be flushed during the 8 week test period to try to clean out the pipes in the ground where calcium and deposits have built up.

When the city flushes the hydrants, citizens in those areas will notice a drop in water pressure and water can come out of tap discolored.  This was evidenced approximately two weeks ago when the water main break at 12th and Church Street occurred, many citizens in the area were affected by these conditions as hydrants had to be opened to make the necessary repairs.

Prior to flushing the hydrants, the city will hang fliers on doors of places affected by the flushing, informing them that they should expect these conditions and to not do laundry for a 24 hour period following the hydrant flushing as this could turn clothes a brown or rust color.

Harrenstein also presented facts and figures on the cost of this test and possible future impact to the budget if the test is successful and it is decided to implement further procedures.  The extra salary for having the Water Plant staffed additional hours each day will result in a cost of $5,120. The cost of additional chemicals in the water is not determinable at this point, but is not looked at as a major expense.

“We have the money in the budget for the testing period,” Harrenstein noted. “What the City Council will need to consider is if this test is successful, this will have a budget impact for the permanent addition of man hours and chemicals in the future.”

The testing period is slated to start on November 1 and conclude on Christmas Eve.