Baker City's temporary UV water treatment system arrives

By Pat Caldwell/Baker City Herald March 07, 2014 10:09 am

System should be operating later this month

By Pat Caldwell

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The ghost of last summer’s cryptosporidium crisis may finally be banished by the middle of March after the city’s temporary UV water treatment system goes online.

City Manager Mike Kee said Thursday that the Calgon Carbon Sentinel UV System will be here today, and city workers will begin to install the mechanism Monday.

“It will be done the week after next,” Kee said.

The new system will benefit city residents in three ways, Kee said.

One, it will treat all the water that flows through the city water mains.

Two, the system will be able to treat millions of gallons of water the city diverts each year from its watershed into its well and then pumps back to the surface during summer when streamflows in the watershed diminish and water use peaks.

Third, the new system will eliminate the need for the city to have water tested twice each week for crypto, which has been costing the city between $4,000 and $5,000 per month since August.

Several hundred people were infected with crypto, a microscopic parasite, last summer.

Although state and federal health officials were unable to definitively pinpoint the source, they concluded that the city’s drinking water was responsible.

One sample of water from Elk Creek, one of several streams the city taps in the watershed, contained levels of crypto sufficient to cause illness.

The city plans to have a permanent UV treatment facility in place by November.