WMEL Water Authority director says filtration system on track - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

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WMEL Water Authority director says filtration system on track

The water authority's director says the filtration system should last from two to 10 years. (Source: WAFF) The water authority's director says the filtration system should last from two to 10 years. (Source: WAFF)
MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

In one month, the WMEL has made quick work piecing together a solution to their water problems.

They're installing a new filtration system that uses Granulated Activated Carbon that will filter out the PFOS and PFOA chemicals contaminating their water.

This coming after the WMEL advised customers not to drink the water in June because of unsafe levels of PFOS and PFOA chemicals. The WMEL has filed suit against 3M, Daikin and Dyneon over Tennessee River pollution. Daikin settled with the WMEL for $5 million on September 1.

Water Authority Director Don Sims says the filtration system is on track, at least right now, to give customers clean water by October 1.

Most of the $5 million Daikin settlement money is slated for the new system.

"The 3.9 million is what we're told will cover the entire GAC system," said WMEL attorney Carl Cole.

Sims says the materials used in the filtration system will last anywhere from two to 10 years.

"For the GAC system there is no cost being passed along to the customers," said Cole.

Even more good news, according to the settlement $450,000 will be reimbursed to WMEL customers.

"The reimbursement will be dollar for dollar for that one month window from the time that the EPA said that the advisory levels were lowered, to the time that there was blending of water making it safe to drink," said Cole. "Daikin was willing to recognize that there was a problem, even though they don't admit fault."

Diakin is the only company to have settled with the Water Authority, whereas 3M and Dyneon are still facing a pending lawsuit.

"3M has refused to even purchase a bottle of water for anyone in the affected area," said Cole.

Cole says they're looking to squeeze every penny out of 3M.

"I can assure that what we're going to be looking for from 3M is substantially higher than what Daikin settled for,"
said Cole.

Cole says 3M is the real villain.

"3M is the true bad actor here, there the ones who created this chemical, used it, put it in the landfill and made it's way into the drinking water," said Cole.

If 3M decides to continue battling things out in court, Cole says they're ready for a 12-round fight.

"We're totally prepared to go the distance with 3M," said Cole.

Sims said if they can settle with 3M, the WMEL will look to into installing a reverse osmosis system, which will be a much more costly, yet sustainable long term solution to the district's water woes.

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