Black & Veatch representative Michael Hundley discusses the Water Project in Emporia.

The City of Emporia has a solution to ridding its water supply of the discoloration caused by manganese and other minerals. On Tuesday, Black & Veatch representative Michael Hundley said a new disinfectant approach is needed as well.

For more than 50 years, the City’s water supply has relied on free-chlorine as a disinfectant. Hundley said the free-chlorine process presents a potential problem. Over time the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Health discovered free-chlorine could react with tiny compounds creating a potential hazard in the water coming into the home.

Hundley recommended the City switch to a chloramine disinfectant process. Greensville County switched to chloramines as its water supply disinfectant method approximately 10 years ago.

“About half the plants use chloramines for disinfection instead of chlorine,” he said. “What that means is you still inject the free-chlorine just as you always have. You inject a little ammonia into the system, and it stabilizes the compounds and turns it into the chloramine.”

The adjustment in disinfectant does not slow the ongoing Manganese Control Project. Hundley said the testing of manganese contactors is doing well in getting rid of the discolored water. The pressure valve needs modification, but he expects that issue to be resolved promptly. The proposals to build the system are already going out to contractors.

“This is the part that will solve all the groundwater complaints,” Hundley said. “It takes out all the excess iron, all the excess manganese and solves the groundwater problems.”

Hundley estimated the costs for the equipment at $600,000 but said his estimation is a guess at best. Along with City Manager William Johnson, Hundley is working on financing with the state, covering the additional costs of the project.

Hundley’s goal for constructing the manganese contractors is to begin in September or October of 2022.