Bacteria prompts boil water alert

July 13, 2018

By Pat Maurer

Some Clare businesses and residents were advised to boil their water last Saturday due to a presence of bacteria, the first such alert in the City in more than 35

A map of the affected areas of contaminated water

A map of the affected areas of contaminated water

years, said Acting City Manager Steven Kingsbury.

The alert, which lasted until Monday evening, affected West Wheaton between Woodlawn and McEwan Streets, “from the west side of McEwan Street north.”

Clare Department of Public Works personnel reported a “low pressure” warning when the water pressure dropped below 20 psi. The warning prompted controlled water testing at the Pettit Park campsite and at the booster station just across McEwan Street. Both sites tested positive for bacteria.

“Black light testing showed that there was no evidence of E.coli, Kingsbury said.

The booster station provides water to the north water tower which pressurizes the northern district of the City, Kingsbury said.

He said other water samples taken at City Hall and Stamina Stadium were both clean.

Kingsbury said that when the water pressure drops below 20 psi, it can allow contaminants to get into the system. A higher water pressure prevents this.

He said the cause of the low pressure at the booster station is being investigated. “We have some ideas but haven’t confirmed what caused it,” he said.

Our lab technicians are highly skilled,” Kingsbury added, “but to be sure we will hire an independent licensed engineer to determine why the water pressure was low.”

“We posted the ‘boil water alert’ on Facebook and our internet page and also went door to door to deliver notices to all the businesses and residences Saturday,” Kingsbury said. “We placed a higher level of chlorine into the water system for 15 minutes to kill the bacteria and flushed hydrants.” He said the higher level of chlorine “had a slight odor,” but was still safe for human consumption.

After flushing the hydrants and testing the water, officials waited 24 hours and tested again. Those first samples were clean, but Kingsbury said they waited another 24 hours and did another test Sunday evening. The second test was also clean and the City removed the “boil water” alert around 6 p.m. Monday.

The alert on Facebook had 25,000 views and was shared 430 times, Kingsbury said.

“The City of Clare is deeply appreciative of the community’s understanding and support during the boil water order that was issued this past Saturday, July 7th,” Kingsbury said. “The significant level of care and concern tangibly demonstrated by so many residents and business owners is simply overwhelming and is a wonderful testament to the reason that we all call Clare home.”

He continued, “On behalf of the Clare City Commission and the entire staff of the City, please accept our heartfelt thank you to everyone that assisted during the past two days and for being such good and supportive neighbors.”

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