DENR Issues Boil Order to City of Aberdeen
For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 21, 2012
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Kim Smith, 773-3152
DENR Issues Boil Order to City of Aberdeen
PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a boil water order to the city of Aberdeen yesterday (Wednesday, June 20). The order will remain in effect until further notice.
The boil water order came about when routine and repeat drinking water samples taken by city officials showed the presence of total coliform and E. coli. Routine city drinking water samples were taken on June 12. Repeat samples were taken on June 18.
Under the order from DENR, Aberdeen officials must notify consumers of the boil water order and implement a course of action to correct what may have contributed to the unsafe drinking water samples. Corrective action may include batch chlorination, continuous chlorination, and flushing the city’s drinking water distribution system.
The bacteria present in total coliform and E. coli can make those who drink the water without boiling it first sick. The bacteria pose special health risks for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.
Symptoms include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, and other symptoms. If any of these symptoms persist, individuals should seek medical advice.
For more information, contact the Aberdeen Public Works Office at 626-7010.
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NOTE: Attached is a timeline of events leading up to issuance of the boil water order.
Municipal water systems are required to sample for bacteriological presence/absence with the number of samples based on population size. The City of Aberdeen is required to sample at 30 different sample sites spread out across their system each month. Typically, Aberdeen collects 10 samples per week during the first three weeks of the month.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
- Aberdeen collects and submits second set of 10 samples for June. (First set of June samples were safe or absent of coliform bacteria).
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
- State Health Lab receives samples and sets up tests.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
- Lab notifies Drinking Water program that completed testing find 8 samples safe and 2 unsafe (bacteria present). Unsafe samples were from Site #8 @ OM Tiffany (total coliform and E Coli positive) and Site #22 @ Primrose Corp. (total coliform positive).
- More than one unsafe sample results in a violation occurred. Drinking Water notifies the city of the violation and the need to do additional repeat sampling and notify the public. The City must collect 3 additional samples for each unsafe sample – one from the original sample site, as well as a tap upstream and downstream to determine if the issue is limited to the specific sample site or more widespread.
Monday, June 18, 2012
- Aberdeen collects and submits the required repeat samples to the State Health Lab.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
- The lab receives the samples and sets them up for the typical 24-hour hold time in the incubator.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
- The Lab notifies the Drinking Water Program that 2 of the 6 repeat samples are safe and 1 - taken upstream on North Dakota Street - is unsafe (total coliform and E Coli positive). Because the unsafe sample is not from the original unsafe sample site, an acute MCL violation has occurred, requiring the Drinking Water Program to issue a boil water order to the City. Test results are pending on three remaining samples.
- Rob Kittay and Mark Mayer of the Drinking Water program call Janel Ellingson, Aberdeen Water Plant Superintendent, to inform her of the sample results and tell her that the City will have to issue a boil water notice. The official notice requiring the city to issue the boil water order is also emailed to Janel along with the public notice handbook.
- Health Department places Aberdeen on active surveillance for possible related illness.
- City issues boil water notice through local media.
- The city must implement a course of action demonstrating that they have resolved any issues that may have contributed to the unsafe samples – may include flushing certain areas, increasing their chlorination dosage, boosting the chlorine levels in the problem areas, or any other ideas the city staff may propose.
- Once the plan is implemented and Drinking Water concurs, the city will collect additional samples to demonstrate that the bacteriological quality has been restored. Then Drinking Water will lift the boil order.