Water Company Touts Filtration System, Says Chromium 6 Could Come From Treatments

by Gabe Bullard on April 1, 2011

The Louisville Water Company’s riverbank filtration system has won a major engineering award. And water company officials say the system will remain up-to-date, even if water quality standards change.

Despite recent tests that found the carcinogen chromium 6 in water, the Louisville Water Company says the filtration system is effective.

The new riverbank filtration system pulls groundwater through layers of rocks and sand and into an underground tunnel. The water is then pumped to the surface, further treated and sent to homes.

Several weeks ago, the water company found chromium 6 in the treated water. Water Company spokesperson Kelley Dearing Smith says that’s unusual, because no Chromium 6 was found in the tunnel after the water was first filtered.

“We’re looking at what happens from when the water comes out of the well—which has absolutely no detections in it—to when it leaves the plant, which has a very small detection in it. We’re looking at that process between the well and sending it to the customers, what’s happening in that treatment train,” she says.

Chromium 6 is not currently regulated, though that is being discussed in some states. Smith says if regulations were placed on the compound, the water company would likely only need to change its treatment process and not modify the filtration system. The riverbank filtration system was given the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Outstanding Achievement Award Thursday.

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