BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — After facing supply chain shortages, Bay County Utilities Services has been searching for a way to ensure they never run out of treatment materials.

“One of our chemical companies had a hard time getting our treatment chemical to us, so during that time, we decided to take the initiative to look at a different treatment chemical. We found one, tested it, tested it in-house in just little beakers, and then we have now gone to the state and proposed to do a full-scale trial,” Water Division Superintendent Sean Lathrop said.

They began a two-week trial of a new water treatment program on Monday.

“The biggest change is our main coagulant, so the main coagulant right now is ferric sulfate and this new one is going to be aluminum chloride that’s the biggest change or does the same exact thing to the water. It’s just a reaction from a positive and a negative. Just some chemistry, just using a different chemical,” Lathrop said.

Lathrop said the new treatment could save up to $200,000 a year.

It will also provide additional safety benefits to employees that handle the chemicals.

“There is a safety benefit, so right now we use a sulfuric acid for PH control and we would not have to use that anymore,” Lathrop said.

During the testing period, they will only use half of the treatment plant.

“We have two basins, so one of our basins is going to be running the main coagulant that we used today and the other basin is going to be the trial and we’re only going to use a bank of our filters, we have eight over here and three over there,” Lathrop said. “We’re going to use half of our filters for that trial.”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has approved the program.