BY LEANN DILBECK –
The Mena Water Utility, this week, is notifying by mail all Mena, Acorn Rural Water, and Freedom Rural Water customers as well as publishing three-public notices stemming from a precautionary boil order issued in June of this year when the Irons Fork Lake reservoir became flooded. Those public notices may be found on page 20 of this issue. Mena Water Utility Manager Charles Pitman realizes the notices could be disconcerting to customers and has offered the following explanations.
Acorn and Freedom purchase the water for their systems from Mena and that is why they are also being included in the notifications from the City of Mena utility.
“There are three notices. The first is about turbidity, which was dirtiness of the lake water at that time. Thankfully, our watershed is mostly National Forest, but there was a small chance that the water could have some type of bacteria so the boil order was issued and the amount of disinfectant (chlorine) was increased to combat any bacteria.”
He continued to explain that increased usage has triggered the need for the second public notice. “There is a by-product of chlorine and the more chlorine used, the higher the by-product. There were only 12-hours that we produced water that did not meet Health Department standards.”
The third notice, he explained, is the result of a misunderstanding of the Health Department rules. “Nine samples a month from different locations in our distribution system are required each month. Five samples were submitted to be tested for coliform to have the boil order released. Four more samples were submitted after the boil order was lifted to make the required nine. Because the samples tested during the boil order were for a specific purpose, they were not used to meet our requirement of nine during the month. We did not realize this until after the month of June ended.
The utility just learned of their violations last Monday, August 19. Pitman said that he wanted to emphasize the quality of the water is very high and contributed much of the quality to the cleanliness of the watershed as well as the excellent job of his staff.