Alan Sorensen Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Havre water isn’t tasting very good right now, but officials say its condition does not pose an immediate health threat. Robert Presnell, superintendent of the Havre water treatment plant, issued a news release explaining the Havre City Water system recently violated drinking water standard. Although it was not an emergency, he said, customers have the right to know what happened, what they should do and what the city has done to correct situation. The city routinely monitors the water for turbidity cloudiness, Presnell said. The cloudiness tells water plant workers whether they are effectively filtering the water supply. Normal turbidity levels at the plant are 0.06 turbidity units. A water sample taken Feb. 21, Presnell said, showed levels of 2.46 turbidity units. That reading is above the standard 0.5 units. Because of the high levels of turbidity, he said, there is an increased chance that the water may contain disease-causing organisms, but none has been found. At this time, people do not need to boil their water or take other actions, he said. City officials do not know of any contamination, and none of the testing has shown disease-causing organisms in the drinking water. People with severely compromised immune systems, infants and some elderly may be at increased risk, though, he said. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. General guidelines on ways to lesson the risk of infection by microbes are available from EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800) 426-4791. Turbidity has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Turbidity may indicate the presence of disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses and parasites, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea and associated headaches. The symptons are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. People who experience any of the symptoms and whose symptoms persist may want to seek medical advice. The problem occurred, Presnell said, with the treatment system at the water plant. The primary chemical feed line was found to be partially plugged, allowing a small portion of The required chemical to reach the water needing treatment. When the problem was discovered, the treatment plant was immediately shutdown and repairs were made. Upon completion of the repairs, he said, the treatment plant was isolated from the main water distribution system. The shutdown allowed operating personnel the opportunity to remove all the reduced chemically treated water from within the treatment plant and bring in the proper chemically treated water behind it. With the properly treated water now in the plant, he said, the filters systems were cleaned and water service was returned to the distribution system. Additionally, water samples were taken randomly from the distribution system and tested for chlorine residual, with all results surpassing the minimum requirements. For more information, call Presnell at 265-5215 or write him at P.O. Box 1608, Havre, MT 59501.