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Water Co. project begins

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Liquid chlorine, instead of gas, will now be used

By James Roberts

While customers won't notice a change, work will begin soon on a project to make purification of Campbellsville's water supply safer.
By February, a new system is expected to be in place at the Campbellsville Water Co. that will use liquid chlorine in the purification process rather than the chlorine gas used now. Chlorine is used as a disinfectant to curb bacteria growth.
"The City has for several years looked at a safer disinfection method," said David Bowles of Monarch Engineering, the Lawrenceburg-based company that engineered the project.
Campbellsville Mayor Brenda Allen said the City had been working on the project for about a year and a half but simply didn't have the funding until now.
The project will be funded mostly by money left over from the raw water intake project at Green River Lake. Bowles said extra funding was budgeted into that project in the event that problems were encountered.
As a result, about $100,000 was left over from that project. Allen said the City would pay the balance, which was undetermined as of press time.
"Most of the funds will come from the raw water intake project," she said.
The quest for a safer process was made even more urgent following a chlorine gas leak at the plant on Sept. 18.
Fire, rescue and police personnel responded to the plant in Miller Park just before 7 a.m. that day. Darrell Pierce, a supervisor at the water plant said a water company employee turned on a chlorine tank during the plant startup process and heard a "pop" behind him. The tank was immediately turned back off.
Pierce said a vacuum regulation diaphragm piece on a chlorinator broke and, as a result, a small amount of chlorine spilled into the room.
He said he's not sure how much chlorine actually leaked, only that it was such a small amount that it wasn't registered on the water company's scales.
One Water Co. employee was treated for inhalation of chlorine fumes at Taylor Regional Hospital. He was released later that night.
Streets in the area were closed and all activities at Miller Park were stopped. No residents were evacuated.
Such an incident will not happen with the liquid form of chlorine, Bowles said.
"Chlorine gas is very volatile if released into the atmosphere," he said. "The liquid form is far more stable."
Actual construction, which will be performed by Greensburg-based Garrison Construction Co., simply involves replacing the gas tanks with tanks built to hold liquid. Construction is expected to begin soon.
Some information for this story was provided by Editor Rebecca Cassell and Staff Writer Calen McKinney.