System Maintenance Advisory

Please be advised that this week our pump contractor CTW will be performing important scheduled maintenance on our system, which could result in brief periods of lower water pressure or some air in the lines.

We are not expecting full water outage because during the work we will use our village well cross connect to provide continuous water, while our pump, reservoir and tank are undergoing maintenance. Our water pressure is expected to be lower this week during our use of the cross connect supply.

The work is scheduled to begin tomorrow morning, and will continue for at least 3 days, with regular water service restored by end of Friday if all work is completed.

The work to be performed includes:
– Pump inspection & maintenance
– Reservoir draining, inspection and cleaning
– Pressure tank draining, inspection and cleaning
– Installation of new sensors for improved monitoring

The reservoir and tank cleaning process is mandated by the WI DNR (5-year cycle) and is important ensuring a safe water supply.

If you have any questions about this process or your service please email or call the hotline at 262-212-2278.

TCP / Chlorination

One of our monthly total coliform tests returned positive, triggering follow-up testing; 2 of 4 follow-up tests returned positive, triggering corrective action. Importantly, the test for dangerous bacteria (E.coli) returned negative (safe).

Total coliform positive (TCP) is not unsafe to drink itself but is an indicator of conditions that could allow unsafe bacteria to occur.

As a result we taking these actions:

1. Begin chlorination right away thru the reservoir and tank for at least 2 weeks, until the end of July.

2. We need 2-sets of 2 safe samples taken 24 hours apart to consider the problem under control. These samples may be chlorinated. We will take 2 samples next week (third week of July); and take another 2 samples the last week of July. If these are all safe we may turn off the chlorinator.

3. Complete the draw-down cleanings and inspections of the reservoir and pressure tank no later than September 30, as previously scheduled.These were last cleaned on August 2, 2011.

For continued updates please call the hotline or contact me for any questions. Thanks.

Ted

2016 Annual Members Meeting

All property owners and residents of the MHC water system are invited join us for the Annual Members Meeting. The is the key annual gathering at which we share information, elect the board for the coming year, and vote on the annual fees amount.

A mailing was sent by US Mail in May with a proxy vote card. If you unable to attend, or unsure, please mail your proxy vote right away to ensure we have a quorum to conduct business.

Outage April 21, 2016

Thanks for the calls to report the low pressure / outage.

Beginning last night we had decreasing pressure, to no water this morning. The pump is running now and service is at least mostly restored, but we are still working to determine if the pump is operating normally. There could be further loss of service today if repair is needed.

We will update the hotline when we have more information.

Water test and chlorination update

After a little over a month of temporary chlorination, we have passed the two required follow-up samples with safe results, and today received our official notice from the DNR rescinding the requirement. Chlorination of our water has been discontinued.

We continue to regularly test our water for safety, and are required to perform 5 bacti tests in December before returning to normal monthly sampling.

We had to continue chlorination longer than originally expected, as we brought the level back up gradually to the DNR-prescribed measurement. We did not want to increase suddenly or overshoot the amount required; nor did we want to fail in resolving the bacteria finding.

I appreciate everyone’s understanding that this is a fairly normal occurrence with wells, and that we are required to handle the test result in accordance with EPA and DNR regulations to ensure safe water. Please contact me with any questions.

Ted

Water status update – bacti result and chlorination

I sent an email notice on Thursday regarding a bacti sample result exceeding allowed MCL (maximum contaminant level) and on Saturday regarding chlorination of the water system. This update provides more information on the issue and our steps to resolve.

Please note that our water remains generally safe and that testing for dangerous bacteria (E. Coli or fecal coliform) returned negative (safe) results.

Issue Overview

We test our water monthly for coliform bacteria, as required by the U.S. EPA and WI DNR. Normally this returns a result of “safe” which means detected level is below the MCL set by the EPA. Our sample collected on Monday 10/5 returned a result above the MCL  (unsafe) which triggers additional confirmation testing to rule out a false positive or local contamination. Multiple follow-up samples collected on Thursday 10/8 also returned levels exceeding MCL, with the exception of our “raw water” sample taken directly at the well. This indicates there is an undesirable level of bacteria in the reservoir, tank and distribution pipes, but not in our ground water source.

As a result of the confirmed results, we initiated chlorination of the water by adding a diluted solution to the reservoir and activating our chlorinator pump. The pump adds chlorine to the well water when the pump runs, injecting as it enters the reservoir. This is a similar system to what municipal water systems use to constantly chlorinate their water. The chlorine level on Saturday was higher due to our initial treatment, and was reduced to a level that should not be highly detectable.

Because of the rapid emergency chlorination, we did not issue a boil water notice. On Monday 10/12 the DNR issued an official notice of noncompliance, and recognized our disinfection response as meeting the requirements to respond to this test result.  We are required to deliver a public notice to all homes within 30 days regarding the noncompliance, and board members are performing this delivery 10/13-10/15.

This chlorination process is not optional. Lacking chlorination we would be under boil water notice, and would not be able to lift that notice until multiple safe sample results. Eventually, the DNR would shut down our well if we did not treat the problem.

Our goal is to use this disinfection, and other steps such as flushing the mains, to resolve the elevated bacteria level and restore our safe level.

Next Steps

We will continue the chlorination for at least one week, to allow time for the treatment to have effect. Testing too quickly could lead to additional violations, which would incur more sampling requirements and more cost. In consultation with our certified operator and the DNR, we will take follow-up samples and after we have 2 consecutive sets of 2 safe samples, we can choose to discontinue chlorination.

During the time we are chlorinating, we will test chlorine levels at least twice weekly, at homes in different parts of the system. We are required to maintain an effective threshold in the distribution system (0.5 mg/L) and at the same time we want to avoid a nuisance level of chlorine.

After resolving this violation, we must look at the condition of the reservoir, tank and mains, and consider the best approach to maintaining our safe water status.

Questions/Answers

Q. Does this coliform violation mean our water is unsafe?

A. No. In fact the follow-up tests confirmed no E. Coli or fecal coliform, which are the dangerous bacteria. The DNR recommends you throw out ice and beverages made from the water before we disinfected, as a precaution. As explained in this DNR publication, “Coliform bacteria are naturally occurring in soil and are found on vegetation and in surface waters…. coliform bacteria do not cause illness in healthy individuals.”

The publication also notes that “their presence in well water indicates the water system is at risk to more serious forms of contamination” and “Water from a well properly located and constructed should be free of coliform bacteria” which is why we are disinfecting our system.

 

Q. Are we under a boil water notice?

A. No. As a result of the confirmed results, we initiated chlorination of the water by adding a diluted solution to the reservoir and activating our chlorinator pump. Because of the rapid emergency chlorination, we did not issue a boil water notice. On Monday 10/12 the DNR issued an official notice of noncompliance, and recognized our disinfection response as meeting the requirements to respond to this test result.

 

Q. Should we drink bottled/filtered water?

A. This is a decision for each resident on our well to make, but it is never a bad idea to at least filter your drinking water (e.g. refrigerator filter, Britta pitcher) due to the age of our pipes and presence of particles. Right now, a simple carbon filter will effectively remove virtually all chlorine, which is good for taste. For anyone with a compromised immune system, or infant or elderly residents, there is more reason to consider using purified water.

 

Q. Why don’t we always chlorinate the water?

A. This has never been the practice on our well and some residents have a very strong preference to avoid chlorination. It adds cost, including the chemical cost and the requirement to regularly test the level. The DNR has recommended we institute regular continuous chlorination, but it is not required (except for disinfection such as now).

 

Q. I live on the well and I didn’t get the email update, what happened?

A. First of all, please ensure you are subscribed to the email list by entering your info on the subscription form on this site. Please include property address (e.g. 1000 Brook Ave.) and cell phone to help us keep in contact with members. Also, check your spam/junk folder, and using a prior email alert add the “from” email to your contacts list, which will help keep any emails out of spam/junk folders.

Finally, I did receive reports of some people who are subscribed not receiving emails. I will be sending out further emails (such as the one announcing this post) and will investigate why some apparently did not receive the Thursday or Saturday email alert.

 

Important: Join the Email List

If you are a Marian Heights community well resident or owner, the best way to ensure you receive timely updates regarding planned maintenance shutdowns, unexpected outages, or other important information is to subscribe to the email list.

Use the form in the sidebar or go here to add your name and information.

Outage Tues July 14 2015

As many reported from 5:15am on, there was low or no pressure across the system this morning. The problem appears to be loss of 3 phase power at the pump house, likely due to the storm.

We are addressing with our contractors and WE energies and will restore service as soon as possible.

Thanks.

Tour the MHC Pump House

This year we will hold the annual membership meeting at the MHC Pump House! Our Certified Operator, engineer Tim Cummens of CTW Corp, will provide an overview of how our well pump works. If you live in Marian Heights, don’t miss this opportunity to see where your drinking water comes from. The Pump House is located at 1630 Lindhurst Drive.

ANNUAL MEETING: MONDAY JUNE 8TH, 7:00 PM @ MHC PUMP HOUSE

SEE YOU THERE!

Feb 3 Update – Water main breaks

The second water main break of the weekend was patched by Mid City plumbing and all homes restored to service by 1pm on Saturday. Fortunately there were no further breaks or leaks.

While dealing with these breaks, we discovered the compressor that maintains air pressure in our storage tank had stopped working. Pressure was restored by Saturday afternoon and a permanent replacement compressor is now in place.

The water mains are showing significant corrosion, and this causes ruptures such as the ones experienced this weekend. Given these problems, the board is going to evaluate the costs and benefits of beginning to replace sections of mains. This important topic will discussed at upcoming board meetings. We invite concerned residents who wish to have input in this area to attend and consider joining the board.