Did Not Meet Treatment Requirements

Our water system recently experienced a violation of a drinking water standard. The event did not create an emergency, but Pueblo West Metropolitan District wants to ensure that our customers know what happened and what Pueblo West Utilities did to correct the situation.

We routinely monitor your water for turbidity (cloudiness). This tells us whether we are effectively filtering the water supply.  Normal turbidity levels at our plant are 0.1 turbidity units. Water samples show that 13 samples from August 16 at 1:00 PM until August 26 at 10:15 PM the turbidity measurements were between 1.0 – 2.49 turbidity units.  The maximum allowed for a single measurement is 1 turbidity unit.

What does this mean?  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.
  • People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.
  • This situation is not an emergency. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately. Turbidity has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Turbidity may indicate the presence of disease causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches. These symptoms are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice.

What happened? What was done? 

The turbidity immediately after each filter during the incident was measured at about 0.1 units, well below the 1 unit limit. This tells us that there was nothing wrong with our filtration. The high turbidity was measured in a tank after the filters. The high turbidity measurements may have been caused by metals in the water reacting with the chlorine (such as manganese oxidation). We continuously monitored our disinfection treatment during the event. We took extra samples for metals and all results were below health limits. In addition to our testing efforts, the Pueblo Board of Water Works provided independent testing to help identify the issue. Throughout the event, Pueblo West Utilities remained in constant conversation with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to ensure additional oversight of the situation. You may notice a slight color change in your water as we make changes to our treatment processes to address this issue. We are continuing our investigating of the cause of the incident, including extra sampling and making improvements to prevent a recurrence in the future.

We have made treatment adjustments that have solved the turbidity issue. If you have any questions about our treatment or sample results or for more information, please contact Scott Eilert 719-547-5044 or Seilert@pwmd-co.us. If you have a water or sewer emergency call 719-547-3554 any time day or night.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

This notice is being sent to you by Pueblo West Metropolitan District

Colorado Public Water System ID #: CO0151650 Date distributed:  September 8, 2016

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