July 17, 2013 | LXXIII, No. 16

Arsenic plant shut down for brown water

The Department of Health has ordered Electric City to shut its arsenic treatment plant down.

A letter written by the DOH will go out to water customers in Electric City today (Wednesday) advising residents that the plant is being shut down while city officials fine tune the plant in an effort to get a handle on the brown water that some receive from their taps.

The city shut the arsenic treatment plant down July 10, and water from the wells will bypass the plant for the immediate future.

This means that water customers will be drinking the same water with arsenic content of from 13-17 parts per billion that they have been drinking for years and before the plant was installed.

In the DOH letter, officials stated:

“On July 10, we found a problem that may have allowed some materials associated with the treatment process to get into the water being delivered to you. This could be the source of the brownish water you may have noticed. The brown water has potentially high levels of arsenic and manganese.

“We turned the treatment plant off on July 10, in order to work on the problem. This means that, beginning July 10, arsenic is not being removed from the water we’re supplying to you. Before we installed the arsenic treatment plant, arsenic concentrations in the water were above the federal limit, but were not near the level at which you would have been advised not to drink the water.”

Water users are advised not to drink brown water coming from the tap but let it run until the water is clear. The letter stated that it was hoped that the problem could be resolved within a month or as soon as possible.

Those experiencing problems with their water or who want more information can call city hall, 633-1510.

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