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City of Aberdeen says Water Treatment facility fails turbidity test in June

The City of Aberdeen has released a statement regarding its drinking water and the water treatment plant violating a drinking water requirement.

According to the release, normal turbidity levels at the plant are 0.2 turbidity units. A sample taken on June 10th showed 5.35 turbidity units.

Because of these high levels of turbidity, there is an increased chance the water may contain disease-causing organisms.

The release goes on to say this is not an emergency and turbidity has no health effects, but can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. The city says there is no need to boil water, but those with severely compromised immune systems, infants, pregnant women or elderly should seek guidance from your health care provider.

The city says filter problems were detected and taken offline and mechanical malfunctions have been corrected.

This release comes months after former Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Bob Braun quit in protest. He did this by publicly calling out city manager Joe Gaa and others at an Aberdeen City Council meeting.

Full release from the city:

Important Information About Your Drinking Water

Our water system recently violated a drinking water requirement. Although this situation does not require that you take immediate action, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened, what you should do, and what we did to correct this situation. 

We routinely monitor your water for turbidity (cloudiness).  This tells us whether we are effectively filtering the water supply.   Normal turbidity levels at our plant are 0.2 turbidity units. A water sample taken 6/10/2023 showed levels of 5.35 turbidity units. This was above the standard of 1 turbidity units. Because of these high levels of turbidity, there is an increased chance that the water may contain disease-causing organisms.

 What should I do?

  • There is nothing you need to do. You do not need to boil your water or take other actions. We do not know of any contamination, and none of our testing has shown disease-causing organisms in the drinking water.
  • If you have a severely compromised immune system, have an infant, are pregnant, or are elderly, you may be at increased risk and should seek advice from your health care providers about drinking this water. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

What does this mean?

This is not an emergency.  If it had been, you would have been notified within 24 hours. 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 These symptoms are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice.

 What is being done?

As soon as the filter problems were detected the contributing filters were taken offline and the mechanical malfunction was corrected on one filter which was put back online.  The other filter remains offline until its mechanical malfunction can be corrected 

  • We sampled treated water for the presence of coliform bacteria both from the plant and also the distribution system. 
  • We monitored chlorine levels.
  • We inspected and cleaned the filter before putting it back into service.
  • New pressure regulators have been ordered to replace all those currently in service. 
  • New controlling unit has been ordered to replace the filter still offline.  A schedule of 
    replacement will be created to replace all of the controlling units.  

 Where can I get additional information?

If you have questions about your water system’s operation, water quality monitoring, or response to this issue, please contact the system operator directly. If you have questions about the drinking water regulations or health risks posed by this contaminant you can contact the SD DANR Drinking Water Program at (605) 773-3754.  If you have questions about specific symptoms, you can contact your doctor or other health care provider.   

 For more information, please contact Joe Gaa at 605-626-7025 or cityhall@aberdeen.sd.us. 

 Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

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