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By Mike Chambers

Correspondent

A technical makeover is being planned for Trenton's water sewage plant that officials say will ensure not only the quality of drinking water but address safety concerns, as well.

The plant's regulation system is badly corroded after being in place for more than two decades, said Bobby Chitwood, Trenton water treatment supervisor.

"There's the possibility that if I took this bolt loose, it could break," he said.

Trenton Fire and Utilities Commissioner Tommy Lawson said bids are being sought to replace the system. The move is not only for safety, but to avoid having "state and federal environmental officials step in" for corrective action, he said.

The parts have been corroded by chlorine, which is added to water from Lookout Mountain Creek to kill fecal coliform bacteria. Mr. Chitwood said chlorine is essential to kill the bacteria, but the chemical is not something to be toyed with.

"It could give you instant pneumonia if you breath it," he said.

A second option would be to install an ultraviolet system to kill bacteria, but such a move would be cost prohibitive. Mr. Chitwood said that while replumbing the current system probably will cost "several thousand dollars," changing to an ultraviolet system would increase the cost by at least a "factor of 10."

Money from the special projects local options sales tax will be used to pay for the work, officials said.

Mr. Chitwood and other city officials said current equipment is "up and running" with no leakage and they plan to keep it that way.

"It's like your transmission is slipping in your car ... you fix it," he said.

Trenton's plant treats sewage for more than 840 customers, according to Doug Anderson, director of the Dade County Water Authority.

Mike Chambers writes about Dade County. Contact him at chambers@tvn.net.

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