In Kenai, we're ready to drink it in

Is there anything more refreshing than a glass of cool, clear water on a warm summer day?

Well, the warm summer days may or may not be on the way, but that clear water is soon to be flowing in Kenai.

Water quality has long been an issue for residents of Kenai. The city administration committed a great deal of time, energy and effort to finding a new well after the Environmental Protection Agency changed allowable levels of arsenic in public drinking water in 2002. A well, tapping an aquifer beneath Beaver Creek, has tested well below the EPA's threshold for arsenic, but the water is a dirty brown color due to tannins, naturally occurring organic material. As anyone who has had to wash a load of white clothes or served water in a clear glass can attest, tannins aren't pretty.

In fact, City Manager Rick Koch told the Clarion that water color has been the top issue among Kenai utility customers.

Fortunately, a new water treatment plant is just about ready to come online and will address the water color issues. The treatment plant uses a combination of chemicals and filters to remove tannins. Koch said Kenai residents should notice a change in water color by July, when the plant is up and running.

Likewise, a new well tapping the same aquifer under Beaver Creek is expected to begin adding water to the system by October, at which point the wells that test high for arsenic will go offline.

High quality water has been a long time coming for Kenai residents. The city administration has been proactive throughout the process, and with all that effort behind us, we're looking forward to drinking that cool, clean and clear glass of water.

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