Friday, October 17, 2008

Real Life IST Complications

There is an interesting article on concerning a public hearing that includes an IST issue at a local water treating plant. The IST provisions of the proposed improvements at the Aquarion Water Co’s water treatment plant near Greenwich, CT are not central to the local dispute, but the dispute points out the potential problems that can arise out of an IST project.

The proposed upgrades to the 80 year old plant are quite extensive and amount to a significant expansion of the facility. According to the article the changes are “are necessary to deal with low overhead space and poor lighting at the current location, and to handle a chemical switchover from chlorine gas to liquid bleach”. It is not clear if the chemical change led to the planned physical plant changes.

There is one local resident that is complaining about the threat of potential from leaks from bleach delivery trucks. The upgraded facility will result in delivery trucks using a shared driveway. This brings a larger volume of a less dangerous chemical closer to his house. He claims the change will cause his drive to “become the toxic highway of Greenwich”. It is hard to convince this resident that he is safer even though he acknowledges that the community safety level is almost certainly increased.

This particular project is a long way from approval, much less completion. This is the first in a series of public hearings before a variety of regulatory boards. This $23 million upgrade to the water facility will serve about 52,000 customers or about $442 per customer. This IST project certainly seems to be cost effective. We will just have to wait and see what happens in the local regulatory bodies.

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