Arkville water upgrade up and running


By Joe Moskowitz
A portion of Arkville’s new water system has been approved by the New York State Department of Health and is pumping away.

Late last week, Arkville Water District Commissioner Terry Johnson flipped the switch to start pumping water out of the hamlet’s new primary well. It’s located off of Franks Street behind the Delaware and Ulster Railroad. “Flipping the Switch’ is a gross understatement. It is a technologically highly advanced pumping and filtration system.

The project began five years ago. First the mains had to be replaced, but that work suffered a setback because of Hurricane Irene. A well had to be drilled, but then the state discovered a problem, arsenic was found in the new well. Johnson says it was barely above acceptable standards, but that still meant it had to be taken care of, or the new well couldn’t be used. That would be a problem as the state required Arkville to have another well in case the old one on Pavilion Road failed.

The arsenic problem was solved by adding ferrous chloride. Johnson says it amounts to liquid iron. The arsenic attaches itself to the ferrous chloride so it can be filtered out. Naturally occurring iron and manganese deposits are also filtered out. It is all done by computer. In the event the building was to become inaccessible because of floodwaters or snow, Johnson can operate the plant via the Internet.

Even heating and cooling are state-of-the-art. The building utilizes geothermal technology. Cold water is pumped into the earth where the temperature is constantly about 20 degrees warmer than the water and then pumped back up. Those 20 degrees help provide the heat, and in the summer, will help keep it cool.

The old well, will become the backup. It hasn’t been shut off yet. The new well and filtration system are still in the test mode. Later this spring, the well house on Pavilion Road will be rebuilt and upgraded. Once that is done, Johnson will be able to have the two pumping stations “talk” to each other via computer. That’s a far cry from when all there was to do was pump the water out of the ground and add chlorine.

Johnson says he plans to hold an open house to show off the new pumping and filtration system just as soon as everything is ready.