During a regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 3, Paintsville Utilities board members voted to approve funding for a low-flow trial utilizing Peracetic Acid (PAA) as a wastewater disinfectant alternative to chlorine gas.

Peracetic Acid is an organic chemical compound commonly used as a sanitizing agent in the food and pharmaceutical industries and has been noted by the EPA as being an environmentally friendly disinfectant that has no links to toxic residuals or carcinogenic compounds.

The potential change to PAA will also eliminate the risk of a potential chlorine gas leak, providing a safer working environment for on-site employees as well as residents in the area. While Paintsville Utilities has never experienced a chlorine gas leak, changing to PAA would erase the risk at very little cost.

For Paintsville Utilities General Manager Bob Pack, the trial represents an initiative to put public health and safety at the forefront of their business.

“We are not in the water system business, we are in the public health business,” he said.

Paintsville Utilities has already seen success utilizing Peracetic Acid at the wastewater treatment plant at Honey Branch. While this plant was not the first in Kentucky to conduct a trial, it was the first to receive a government permit in 2013.

In a statement given to the Paintsville Herald, Pack said the change will benefit public health and will not cost much more.

“It is one of the more environmentally-friendly yet very effective methods that’s out there,” he said. “It’s not that much money. If it can improve the safety of our community versus that much money, it’s worth it.”

Paintsville Utilities is hoping to begin the six-month trial period in March to examine cost effectiveness as well as long-term viability of the change across various seasonal conditions and water flows.

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