Hampton Bays Water District customers will finally be receiving clearer water thanks to the installation of an iron and manganese filtration system.
Southampton town board members unanimously approved a resolution February 11 to bond $6.355 million to pay for the upgrades at plant No. 4, which will require the construction of a new treatment building, along with the rehabilitation of the Bellows Road elevated storage tank, and the professional engineering and design services associated with the two projects.
“That’s critical infrastructure needs,” said Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. The work will be done by H2M Architects + Engineers.
Iron, which makes up at least five percent of the Earth’s crust, is known to leach into water supplies throughout the United States from rock and soil formations. Concentrations of iron in water as low as 0.3 parts per million can cause a yellow to reddish discoloration in the water. Depending on the pH level, this can be the start of the staining and scale process in water supplies, and also leads to taste and odor problems.
Manganese is a mineral that naturally occurs in rocks and soil and may also be present as a result of underground pollution sources. Rarer than iron, it’s usually not found alone in a water supply, but is frequently found in water that contains iron. When manganese is present in water, it can cause many of the same issues that iron does. In low concentrations, it can produce stains on everything it comes into contact with. Manganese deposits collect in pipelines, which can cause tap water to contain black sediment and give it a cloudy appearance. The dark brown or black stains found on fabrics washed in this water are caused by the oxidation of the manganese.
Hampton Bays resident Gayle Lombardi said she’s happy to see the board vote in favor of the undertaking, but asks that the members remain vigilant in keeping promises written in the town code.
“It talks to the fact that the town board is authorized and empowered to protect our water,” she said. “Keep our clean water available for future generations, prevent degradation of valuable and essential resources. Southampton’s underground aquifer should be kept pure.”