-Chad Renly, Municipal Services Director
The City has received a number of concerns over the quality of the City’s water.
The City takes water quality very seriously, samples are taken from around the city weekly to ensure the safety of our water. These tests are done in compliance with DNR water quality standards. No tests have come back to date showing a need for concern.
The discolored water is caused by a natural occurring mineral known as manganese. It is very prevalent in the aquafer from which we draw our water supply. Similar to iron, manganese will oxidize when exposed to air and become rusty in color. As water is extracted from the wells a blended phosphate known as Aqua Mag is added to the water to keep the manganese from oxidizing. The manganese is always present in the water but can settle out to a low spot in a pipe or at the end of a main line. These settled areas are where the Aqua Mag wears off and the manganese will oxidize. These low laying or end of the line areas can become stirred back up into the main water when a large draw of water is used or a shift in the water happens. When these areas are stirred up people will experience the discolored water.
The reason for recent disturbances or this manganese being stirred up is because of recent work done to the system.
· Wells 1 & 2, located on the east side of the city, have been operational and feeding the entire city while Well 3 on the west side has been shut down for maintenance. With well 3 being offline water is being moved from the east side of the city all the way to the west, creating a higher chance for the manganese to be stirred up.
· Second St. is moving toward the end of its reconstruction project, part of this project was the replacement of its water main. In order to replace pieces of this pipe water valves need to be frequently turned off and on again, this action of stopping and starting water would also stir up deposits of the Manganese sending it into the general water flow.
· Lastly the city’s middle school is currently under construction. During the demolition process they spray a large amounts of water across the debris in order to keep dust from flying around the city helping to improve air quality during this process. These surges in water, similar to a fire department drawing off of a hydrant to put out a fire, can also stir up the Manganese in the water mains.
The city will be flushing the water hydrants around the City in approximately 4 weeks, this helps break those areas up and flush the manganese out of the system, this process is completed twice per year. Residents should start to see things returning to normal as we have all 3 wells running and water related projects come to an end.