Winter Storm Has Duluth’s Water Still Abnormal

Full Press Release Of The Situation In Story

The storm may be over but it has left its lasting presence on Duluth’s drinking water. The City of Duluth water system recently violated a drinking water standard related to turbidity. Although the levels have continued to drop throughout the day, Duluth’s water is still not at a level that we would normally come to expect.

What should you do?

They do not know of any contamination, and none of their testing has shown disease–causing organisms in the drinking water.

What does this mean?

The city has been monitoring the disinfection process and making adjustments necessary to prevent the presence of bacteria.

For more information, please contact the 24 hour emergency line 218–393–5395.

This notice was released by the city of Duluth public works and utilities.

For the full press release: Here’s a copy of what the media received.

[Duluth, MN] – The City of Duluth water system recently violated a drinking water standard related to turbidity. Although this was
not an emergency, 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. Water
samples on October 28, 2017 showed turbidity measurements were in excess of 1.0 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) from
approximately 2:15am this morning, with a peak of approximately 17NTU at 10:45am, and are now falling steadily. At the time of
this notice, the levels had decreased to 0.778NTU and the City anticipates it to continue to drop.
The standard is that no more than 5 percent of samples may exceed 0.3 NTU per month, and any reading above 1NTU is
considered an exceedance. Normal daily turbidity levels at our plant are about 0.025 NTU.
What should I 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.

What does this mean?
Turbidity has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. The
City has been monitoring the disinfection process and making adjustments necessary to prevent the presence of bacteria.
What happened? What was done?
On October 27, 2017 a powerful storm churned Lake Superior with winds in excess of 50mph, which created waves reaching 16-
18’. These high waves, coupled with near-record high water in Lake Superior damaged shoreline infrastructure throughout Duluth
and caused massive erosion. This wave action stirred up the sediments in a large portion of the lake and created unprecedented
turbidity levels.
The Lakewood Water Treatment Plant has never experienced this level of turbidity. Operations staff were able to balance out the
treatment process quickly and safely, but given the large volume of the Lakewood facility any changes take several hours to pass
through the entire treatment system.
For more information, please contact the 24 hour emergency line 218-393-5395.
This notice is being sent to you by City of Duluth Public Works and Utilities.

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