Authority fixes odor in tap water

Smell a funky odor in tap water lately?

Complaints came into the Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority office at Hepburn and West Fourth streets recently by customers who detected an odor in their tap water, according to Douglas Keith, authority executive director, who addressed the authority Wednesday.

The complaints, which are not taken lightly, were investigated, and the authority immediately ordered powder-activated carbon to be put into the water supply.

It took the smell out but the treatment cost about $30,000, according to Keith.

The carbon powder does not have an adverse effect on human health, he said.

The authority also was apprised of water main leak detection efforts by Charles Hauser, the authority director of engineering.

The authority hired a company, Utility Services Associates, of Seattle, and paid it $19,000 to check on about 142 miles of water main pipeline to determine if there are leaks.

Last year, the authority, who has its own in-house employee who does this work, detected about 30 to 40 leaks, Hauser said. The authority maintains 280 miles of pipe, he said.

Next year, after the authority staff visit a wastewater treatment plant serving the Pittsburgh area, an open house and tour of the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant is going to be scheduled, according to Keith.

The staff is visiting the Allegheny County facility, which gets 28,000 visitors via tours, to see how its employees handle visits from the public.