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Workers struggle fixing leaks jeopardizing Clayton water plant

pCLAYTON — Violent leaks in the new filters at the water treatment plant, which are essential for providing residents water, have kept workers busy mitigating the issue as contractors scramble to find a long-term fix. /ppWater and Wastewater Operations Manager Megan Ervay said the two filters installed in the plant on Bartlett Point Road last year have been leaking since October, and leaks have escalated to 30- to 50-foot sprays at times. Filter deficiencies have not yet denied residents access to sufficient amounts of clean water or prompted any state of emergency, she said, but they remain a serious issue. /ppContinuous leakage forced workers to shut down one filter a few days ago, but they patched it up enough to restart it for backup use Tuesday, Ms. Avery said. /pp“It’s discouraging because this has never happened before anywhere else,” with these filters, she said. “We don’t know why this is happening.” /ppThe new filters were incorporated in a more than $7 million water infrastructure overhaul that also included a new chlorination system and pumps at the plant, upgrades to the pump station on Bartlett Point Road and new water lines for several streets and Washington Island, among other improvements. /ppContinental Construction oversaw the project and obtained the filters from Koester Associates Inc.. Ms. Avery said. While they have been trying to fix the filters, she and other village officials have been frustrated with the lack of progress. /pp“Yesterday was a meeting of the minds finally saying ‘fix it!’” said Mayor Norma J. Zimmer on Monday. “It’s never worked right.” /ppThe contractors believe installing a hard gasket on the filters would serve as a permanent fix and prevent further spillage, Ms. Ervay said, and one filter will receive a gasket next week. /ppIf that filter experiences no issues after a couple of weeks, another gasket will be installed on the second filter. Ms. Ervay said workers will not install gaskets on both filters so they can prevent losing both if critical leaks persist or the situation worsens. If the gasket proves futile, Ms. Avery said she will need to secure a back-up system in case both filters fail so residents can continue receiving water. /ppDeputy Mayor Anthony P. Randazzo asked Ms. Avery Monday whether replacement filters were offered, and she said the contractors wanted to try the gaskets first. The gaskets are not a guaranteed remedy because they have never been tested as a permanent fix. Ms. Avery said other contractors were skeptical, and she wants written agreements or “some type of major contingency.”/pp“This is (their) last shot,” Ms. Avery said. “Hopefully next week their miracle fix will work, but time will tell.” /p


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