Everyone who partakes of water delivered by Ketchikan Public Utilities’s municipal water system can appreciate the effort taken by KPU and the City of Ketchikan to deliver safe water that meets state and federal standards.

Indeed, upgrades over time to the water treatment processes used by KPU continue to provide the quality water that KPU customers trust.

While there has been no issue with water delivered to customers, a brief circumstance involving the source water supply in 2019 has resulted in an unfortunate situation in which the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation issued a requirement that the community must install a water filtration plant. The cost of such a plant has been estimated at $70 million, with an estimated annual operating cost of $2 million.

Keeping in mind that the ”drinking water leaving the treatment plant continues to meet all criteria to provide safe drinking water to customers,” KPU and the city have been working with regulators toward a way to avoid having to build and operate a filtration plant.

It’s called a “limited alternative to filtration.”

According to an explanatory video about the situation, KPU notes that the LAF approach, if approved, would result in no reduction in the safety or quality to the water delivered to customers.

In addition, “ADEC fully supports Ketchikan’s request for limited alternative to filtration, and is proactively working with Ketchikan toward its approval,” stated the seven-minute video that’s available on the KPU Water Division’s website at: www.ktn-ak.us/water. “LAF approval will recognize that Ketchikan’s existing treatment system is fully protecting public health, and no additional water treatment is needed.”

The video does a good job in explaining the overall circumstances, and why KPU views the LAF as warranted. The KPU Water Division also has scheduled a public information meeting regarding the LAF approach to start at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.

The presentation, which also will be available via the City of Ketchikan Facebook page livestream and on KPUtv channel 675, is anticipated to be a good way for local residents to learn more about the LAF effort, and we encourage people to participate as they can.

A municipal system that can supply safe, quality water for many years into the future is of great importance to Ketchikan. Wednesday’s meeting is a chance to learn how KPU is planning to accomplish that goal without incurring the immense additional costs of a new filtration plant.