Don’t drink yucky-looking water
December 22, 2007
City Hall on Friday morning continued to warn people in Thaynes Canyon to not drink or cook with discolored water and said officials were awaiting another set of laboratory results that would show whether the amount of metals in the water was still decreasing.
In a message posted on the local government’s Web site at 9:30 a.m., officials said people should run the water for several minutes to clear remaining discolored water. It may take longer in places that suffered "significant water discoloration," the city said.
Crews have flushed the water lines repeatedly since Dec. 15, trying to clear the discolored water. After the Thursday flush, which involves releasing water at various locations along a water line, the water was clear, the city said.
Meanwhile, the cause of the discolored water continued to stump investigators through the end of the week. Jerry Gibbs, the city’s Public Works director, said chemists were studying water samples.
Most of the contaminated water was found in Thaynes Canyon, and smaller amounts were found in Park Meadows, he said.
According to Kathy Lundborg, the city’s water manager, the amount of contaminants had dropped by the time samples were taken Thursday morning. The results include:
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( Manganese levels fell but were above federal and state standards in three spots in the neighborhood.
( Thallium levels fell but were above the standards throughout Thaynes Canyon.
( Arsenic, iron and lead levels had fallen and were charted below the federal and state standards.
Another water-line flush occurred after the Thursday morning readings.
Mayor Dana Williams and the City Council were briefed Thursday night, but they made few comments.
Gibbs said the investigators are considering whether something caused the sediment coating the inside of the water pipes to be released into the water. The crews determined the contamination came from the pipes, and it was not in the water as it entered the system, Gibbs said.
"We still don’t know exactly what occurred," he said. "Our main effort right now is to clear the water up."
Gibbs said the water-line flushes occurred each day since Dec. 15. Each time a flush is finished, the water is clearer, he reported.
He said he is not aware of the discolored water causing someone to become sick.
Gibbs said Public Works notified more than 400 houses and businesses, and pink-colored advisories were posted in the area, including at the new police station off Park Avenue. The advisories ask people to run taps, faucets and shower heads to assist in the flush.
Gibbs estimated the water pipes in Thaynes Canyon are about 30 years old.
The last time the Public Works Department faced water-quality problems as widespread as those in Thaynes Canyon was 2000, Gibbs said, when lead was discovered in sediment that was found in pipes in Old Town.
City Hall has set up a hotline for updates. It is 615-5320, and people can leave messages at the end of the updates.