Livingston

Livingston water well receives $2.3 million filter system

Livingston mayor pro tem Gurpal Samra, left, speaks about the new trichloropropane filtration system at well No. 8 with Livingston water utility operator Tony Avina, in Livingston on Dec. 30. The filtration system, which became active recently, serves Livingston residents as well as Foster Farms.
Livingston mayor pro tem Gurpal Samra, left, speaks about the new trichloropropane filtration system at well No. 8 with Livingston water utility operator Tony Avina, in Livingston on Dec. 30. The filtration system, which became active recently, serves Livingston residents as well as Foster Farms. akuhn@mercedsunstar.com

One of the city’s largest water wells previously plagued by a major contaminant now runs with a new filtration system, city officials announced last week.

The $2.3 million project took more than a year to complete, but the well now has a filtration system with computer monitoring and four large tanks to remove all traces of TCP contamination from water. The project also increased the well’s water capacity.

The City Council in 2103 approved a contract with a Manteca-based company, Conco West, to install the filtration system. The city used funds from a $9.3 million settlement it won in a lawsuit against two chemical companies – Dow Chemical and Shell – in 2011.

Although funding for the TCP filter came from the lawsuit settlement, the city increased utility rates earlier this year to pay for water-related projects on its capital improvement program list. Some of those include installing new water wells, purchasing operating equipment and replacing old gear.

The upgraded well, located on Livingston Cressey Road, near the Foster Farms plant, was chosen because water drawn from it contains high levels of TCP contamination, said Livingston Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra.

Often used in the production of pesticides, TCP is a man-made chemical that can cause cancer, kidney failure and tumors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

California has no maximum contaminant levels for TCP, but regulations may be imposed in the future. The state recommends TCP levels not exceed 0.025 micrograms per liter, but Livingston’s well had reached 0.44 micrograms per liter, according to the city.

The well pumps 1,200 gallons of water per minute to the city, with the majority used by Foster Farms.

The new TCP filtration system, which became active last week, is the first step in a long-term plan to clean up the city’s water, Samra said Tuesday. The city plans to install treatment devices in all eight of its wells to get rid of other contaminants such as arsenic and manganese.

The City Council on Dec. 16 unanimously approved a $1.2 million contract with Loprest Treatment Co. to supply filters to remove arsenic and manganese at three other Livingston wells.

“We are hoping to be done with everything by this time next year,” Samra said, commending the community’s cooperation with rate increases needed to improve water systems. “People will accept rate increases if you tell them how it benefits them. This isn’t a one-man show, it takes everyone.”

Tony Avina, the city’s water utility operator, said it’s rewarding to see the completion of an important project such as installing the water filtration system – especially after a year of work.

“I feel good that we completed the upgrades the public and operators need to get better and cleaner water,” Avina said.

Sun-Star staff writer Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com.

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