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State: Placid must fix water backflow violation

LAKE PLACID – This village’s water system was found to be operating properly by the state Department of Health last month, but the DOH said violations remain with programs in place to prevent anything other than potable water from mixing with what people drink.

In its Aug. 2 annual inspection, the DOH reported the village has failed to prepare and implement a cross-connection control program. The DOH said the village has been in minor violation for the past decade for not having the program.

A cross-connection is between a public or private potable water system and a non-potable system, such as an auxiliary water system, cooling system or irrigation system. Cross-connection programs can help protect public water systems against backflow, the undesirable reversal of non-potable water or other substances into the piping of a potable water system.

The DOH August Water System Field Compliance Report and SDWIS/State Public Water System Inventory Report were presented at Tuesday’s village board meeting.

“They noted the filtration plant is well maintained and operated, although they did note some operational problems which this board is aware of,” village Mayor Craig Randall said. “That has to do with backwashing, which we are working on. And they note the fact that we’ve hired a firm to investigate improvements and corrections which will optimize the efficiency of the plant itself.”

Village Trustee Jason Leon said the situation doesn’t affect water quality but does put a strain on the filter.

“It shortens the life of the filter,” Deputy Mayor Art Devlin added. “It’s costing a lot of money to dump out the filtered water. It filters a lot of gallons of water it backwashes.”

Randall said it was working with Cedarwood Engineering as the firm on the matter.

Lake Placid lake is the source for the village’s drinking water, with a 24-inch-diameter intake located about 340 feet from shoreline at a depth of 37 feet. Gravity pulls the water to a 13,000-gallon raw water storage reservoir located under the village’s filtration plant on George and Bliss Lane

At the plant are three 75-horsepower raw water pumps, each rated at 1,500 gallons per minute. Poly-aluminum chloride is added as a coagulant, and the water is then filtered. The plant is capable of producing 3,500 gallons per minute, or 5 million gallons of water each day.

The plant serves 5,000 people, according to the DOH.

The report said the village had indicated over the years that it was working on a program. As of Aug. 2, the DOH said the village had failed to prepare and implement a cross-connection control program. The DOH reported its Saranac Lake District Office will take enforcement action for the violation in Lake Placid.

“The village needs to develop a comprehensive list of commercial establishments that have (testable backflow prevention devices) including schools, facilities with swimming pools, restaurants, the hospital, the nursing home, ORDA and possible others,” the DOH wrote in its report. “Letters should be sent annually to the owners of testable backflow prevention devices to advise them of the need for annual inspections.”

Monitoring and reporting

The DOH report said the village completes its monthly operation report forms and water samples by the 10th day of the following month as required by the state.

Asbestos

The report said a waiver has been issued to the village water system for asbestos sampling, adding that there is no known asbestos contamination of the water source. There is also no asbestos cement pipe used in the distribution system.

Lead and copper

The report said the village is in full compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule, which requires systems to monitor drinking water at customer taps. The DOH added that the village water system is on reduced monitoring and the next round of 20 samples will be required in 2018.