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SPECIAL REPORT: Hurricane H20

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Econfina Spring is normally known as a great spot to relax on a hot summer day. The spring is noted for its crystal clear appearance and freezing cold temperature, but it also serves a deeper purpose. The water at Econfina supplies the drinking water to Bay County. 

Culligan water, located right on 15th Street in Panama City, has been bottling water from Econfina for 63 years. However, like many places, the spring also took a hit from Hurricane Michael. 

“As you’ve been around Panama City everything is damaged. It’s no different at Econfina. There are trees down,” said Owner/President of Culligan Water, Jay Trumbull Sr.

Currently, at Econfina, there seems to be a brown film on top of the water which isn’t the normal sight visitors are used to seeing. Trumbull attributes the discoloration to tannic acid, but he says it’s not harmful to the water that flows underneath. The water flowing underneath the surface flows so quickly that it is clear and clean. He says the quality of the water at Econfina is still outstanding. 

“There’s a measurement called total dissolved solids. Total dissolved solids are basically everything that’s in the water that’s not water and typically you see 200 part per million water, which is a tedious number. Econfina is below 50,” he said. 

With the current condition of the water, some people are wondering if it’s safe to drink. Trumbull assures that it is and says the water pulled for their products is drawn from 100 feet below the surface, ensuring it’s safe– it then after goes through a thorough sanitation process. 

“We treat water very differently from what a municipality would. What they provide is a safe product that is good for consumption. What we do is refine the water much differently where we take out the organics and anything that makes the water taste bad,” he said. 

 Even though the way they treat the water at Culligan is a more acute process as opposed to the way municipalities treat their water, both ensure the safest H2O is delivered to the community. Culligan uses a process called Ozonation to treat its water products. 

“We have a 6,000-gallon tanker that goes to the springs, we pump the water into the tanker. It’s then transported down to our plant, the water is then transferred into another tank. It’s a 30,000-gallon tank and from there it’s pumped out through activated carbon filtration, ultra-violet light, and then ozonated. Ozone is a tasteless, odorless gas that’s like chlorine but you can’t taste it,” said Trumbull. 

The ozone acts as a disinfectant and helps to treat the water carefully. The water from Econfina has always been one of the purest places for water in the United States and Trumbull ensures it will stay that way. 

Not only do they advocate safety in the products they deliver, but the staff at Culligan loves the fact that they can provide a much-needed service to the community. 
 
“It is fun to offer a product that people really enjoy and I think a lot of people like Econfina spring water. It’s very great tasting water, we know it’s pure and it’s clean, so it’s just fun to offer that to customers,” said Trumbull. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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