Brainerd residents for a short time this year had to drink city water that had a noticeable smell and taste.
Brainerd had to add chlorine to its water distribution system after total coliform bacteria was found in water samples near a construction site on South Eighth Street on Aug. 21. The city had to flush out the water system to get rid of the bacteria and then had to add chlorine to disinfect the system.
In late September, after flushing the chlorine out of the system, tests by the Minnesota Department of Health showed the bacteria remained near South Eighth Street but no where else in the city. Chlorination was restarted and more tests of the system were ordered. When the water was tested Oct. 2, total coliform bacteria was no longer detected.
Brainerd had to add chlorine to its water distribution system after total coliform bacteria was found in water samples near a construction site on South Eighth Street on Aug. 21. The city had to flush out the water system to get rid of the bacteria and then had to add chlorine to disinfect the system. Dispatch file photo
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Total coliform bacteria is naturally present in the environment and is an indicator that other potentially harmful bacteria, such as fecal coliform or E. coli bacteria, may be present. However, tests of Brainerd's water system were negative for the more harmful bacteria. The source was most likely from contamination from the environment introduced during construction or while repairs to plumbing or a water main were under way, the MDH reported.
The Brainerd Public Utilities Commission on Oct. 28 approved flushing chlorine through the city's water system twice a year as a maintenance measure because of the coliform found in the water. Chlorination will begin in the spring.
BPU's water department would chlorinate the water when needed. The city will inform the public when the chlorination takes place. The state told the city that it could chlorinate its water continuously. However, it would be up to the Brainerd City Council to make that decision. If the city should consider that option, public input would be sought.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at jennifer.stockinger@brainerd dispatch.com or 855-5851.
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