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Water trouble in Chinook

 


Even though the Milk River is particularly dirty this year, by the time it comes out of a tap it is always safe to drink.

But getting it that way does have one side-effect, it's causing headaches for water treatment workers across the Hi-Line.

At Thursday night's Chinook City Council meeting, the city's Water Superintendent Cory Fox told the council about his recent watery woes.

"It's just strange water, " Fox said. "It's not the usual water we get coming up. "

This year the water has a higher amount of suspended particles that don't sink to the bottom — where they can be sifted out — without chemical treatments to make them sink.

Because of the increased turbidity, the name for the cloudiness, the water needs a lot more treatment, which takes extra time, chemicals and money.

During the last few weeks, when the Chinook plant needed that extra time to make sure the particles were gone, Fox said that the plant was having a little trouble keeping up with the demand.

The city had to impose a restriction on water-use, specifically outside watering, while the treatment plant caught up.

The restrictions appear to be over for now, and Fox said he hopes they don't have to impose them again.

But the water is still full of things that don't belong, and the city is still having trouble.

"The chemicals just aren't working like they should, " Fox said. "We've got some new chemicals coming in. "

Aside from new chemical help, Fox said the city had brought in someone from the Montana Rural Water System, who had a similar reaction to the water as the frustrated locals.

"He was a little perplexed, " Fox said.

 

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