LIMA — The recent polluted drinking water scare that hit Toledo during the weekend sending some residents from that city as far south as Lima searching for water is highly unlikely to happen here, Lima city officials said Monday.
Two years ago, Lima put online a granular activated carbon system that would easily remove algae from the water, which is the problem Toledo has in its water coming from Lake Erie, said Mike Caprella, the deputy director of utilities for the city of Lima.
“If we had a problem, carbon would remove it so we wouldn’t have a problem,” he said.
Additionally, Lima has five reservoirs to pull drinking water from and rotates. Lima also is picky on when it brings water into the reservoirs from local rivers, usually after heavy rains when the chemicals from farm fields are the most diluted, he said.
Toledo has one intake for water, Lake Erie. Should Lima get an algae bloom, the city would open up the flow from one of the other reservoirs, he said.
“We have built flexibility into it,” Caprella said.
Caprella stopped short of saying Lima’s water supply is bulletproof saying he’s seen too much in nearly a half -century in the business but it’s close.
“You never say ‘never’ but we are well-placed to be able to treat for anything,” Caprella said.
Besides the $14 million granular activated carbon system, Lima has a series of filtration measures that ensures the best quality water is going to homes for drinking and other use, he said.
The carbon filters are the key, however. Granular activated carbon acs like a sponge, Caprella said.
“When it goes through the carbon filters, it goes through very slow and it has a lot of time for the water to come in contact with the carbon granulars and that carbon acts like a sponge and it soaks out organic compounds, which includes algae,” he said.
Lima has four of the special carbon filters but only uses one or two at a time. That allows for maintenance. Every two years the filters must be shipped to another city for cleaning, Caprella said.
That cleaning involves putting the filters into a blast furnace and burning the organic matter out of the filters, he said.
During the weekend people in Toledo found out the value of quality drinking water, something many in Lima probably take for granted.
“You cannot put a price tag on the quality of the water,” Caprella said.