Frankford continues to work to improve water plant

The Frankford Town Council voted this week to make several improvements concerning water. They approved spending $4,800 to convert two air-control valves to electric and to remove the air-compressor dryer at the water plant.

“The air-control valves were run by two air compressors, and that was overkill,” said Council President Jesse Truitt. He said the purpose of the dryer is to absorb moisture out of the air so it doesn’t get into the valves, but converting the two valves over to electric will eliminate that need. He explained that because of “sitting their idle” for so long, the parts had begun to lose their functionality.

“The whole thing,” he said of the water plant, “was designed to run on air valves, but we did away with every air valve except those two,” he noted of changes made at the revamped water plant. He said it was possibly an oversight that they were not converted earlier.

The council also voted to hire White Marsh Environmental Systems to inspect the Roberts greensand filter “A” and possible clean filters “B” and “V” at the same time.

The backwash system at the plant was not working, explained Town Clerk Terry Truiit, so filter “A” was affected and working harder than it should have been, and they were losing runtime in backwash, which should be between 36 to more than 40 hours between backwashes. Each filter will cost the town $550, for 10 hours of labor at $55 per hour.

Cabe Associates, the completion-phase engineers for the water plant renovations, had proposed to inspect the services by White Marsh Environmental, but the council turned down that offer. Jesse Truitt said, “I don’t think we need that. Clarence [Quillen, of Tidewater Utilities] will be there and I don’t think we need a man there watching another man work.”

The Town will spend up to $1,600 in consulting fees from Cabe Associates but declined their proposal to supervise the work onsite.

The town council also voted to spend at least $3,000 on a new water meter for the G.W. Carver Building (formerly Frankford Elementary). Welding and labor will be an additional cost, but the council agreed that the faulty readings and the lack of available parts for a meter that old – they estimated 50 years – made buying a new one a priority.

Terry Truitt announced that the Town had received a compliance notice from the State of Delaware regarding the levels of total trihalomethanes (TTHM), a chlorination byproduct, in its water. She said she was proud to announce that they had five successful quarters with no violations. She later noted that the Town had been in compliance since shortly after the January 2010 notice, but the way the notices work, public water supplies have to be consistently in compliance for a number of quarters in a row in order to be certified as compliant.

In other news from the Nov. 7 council meeting:

• The town council voted to hire Donald Parish as their part-time maintenance employee. Parish comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience, explained Terry Truitt, and most of the council had either met him already or had participated in the interview process.

• Councilwoman Cheryl Workman read a letter from state Sen. George Bunting’s office to U.S. Sen. Tom Carper and U.S. Rep. John Carney concerning the poor condition of railroad crossings in the town. Getting them fixed has been a priority for the town and its representatives for some time, but the railroad company owns them and must repair them, and the Frankford crossings are not at the top of its list of priorities. Townspeople at the Nov. 7 meeting said they were pleased that legislators were talking about it.