Hannam water filtration system work under way
Stars and Stripes March 31, 2008
SEOUL — Hannam Village residents still leery about their drinking water after last May’s mercury scare might soon find it a little easier to swallow.
Work on a new water filtration system at Hannam Village began Feb. 25 and is expected to be complete by April 30, Michael Chung, of U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan Department of Public Works, said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes on Wednesday.
According to garrison spokesman David McNally, the $299,000 filtration system is the result of a promise made to Hannam Village residents by former garrison commander Col. Ronald Stephens during an emergency town hall meeting. The May meeting was called after an announcement that unacceptable amounts of mercury had been found in Hannam Village’s drinking water during a monthly test.
The test turned out to be an anomaly, but residents were not placated — even after Stephens brought his 7-year-old son to a house at Hannam Village and had him drink the tap water in front of cameras and reporters to show how confident he was that the water was safe.
Unlike residents at Yongsan Garrison, who have their own water treatment facilities, Hannam Village residents get their water from the same supply as the city of Seoul.
Hannam Village had a filtration system that was installed in the 1970s, but it hasn’t functioned in at least 10 years, Chung said via e-mail.
Krima, a civilian contracting company under supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District, is installing the new system, which consists of two large tanks, each filled about halfway with gravel and activated carbon.
Water from Seoul will run through both tanks at a rate of about 500 gallons per minute into the housing area’s water supply, said Dave Flynn, a quality assurance representative from the Corps of Engineers.
Chung said residents can expect a four- to six-hour break in running water when the new system is hooked up to the housing area’s water supply.
Chung said Hannam Village residents use about 3.2 million gallons of water a month.