You may have noticed on the June water bill, there was a web page address listed that allowed access to our 2017 Annual Water Quality Report for PWSD #3.

For those who accessed this report and read it, there was some industry “jargon” and all these initials: ppb for parts per billion, ppm for parts per million, mcl for maximum contaminant level, TTHM for total trihalomethanes – let me assure you the news was good. In category after category, our product, the water that comes out of the faucet, tested well below the maximum contaminant levels. There were no categories in which our water was even close to the maximum allowable contaminant level.

Let’s look at some of these categories to get a clearer picture:

Nitrates: this is a big one consisting of run-off from fertilizer, leaching from septic tanks, sewage, etc. Without going into detail, I can tell you that in neighboring Iowa, with all of the big corporate farms and feedlots, this is a huge problem. PWSD #3 is in good shape. Maximum allowable contaminant level is 10 parts per billion. The highest tested level for our water product had 0.12 parts per billion.

Likewise for Atrazine which is a result of runoff from herbicides used on row crops. Maximum contaminant level allowed is 3 parts ppb. The highest level in our water was .47 ppb.

In the past, the biggest challenge for our water district was in the area of “Disinfection Byproducts.” There is a Catch 22 present in regard to water quality; in order to control the various contaminants such as nitrates, Atrazine, and lead (by the way our lead level is way below the MCL as well), it is necessary to introduce chemicals into the processing procedure . . . and then the chemicals also become subject to the testing requirements.

For several years, TTHM levels (total trihalomethines) were right at a level of 80 parts per billion. Currently, due to several procedures put in place by Water Plant Manager Roger Barker, that number has been lowered to a very acceptable level of 54 parts per billion.

In addition, 2017 featured an additional round of water quality samplings requested by the DNR. These tests were for the purpose of monitoring the potential presence of e-coli in raw water samplings with a threshold of no more than 100 colonies per sampling. So far, Lake Viking water has passed this test with flying colors. In several of the samplings, the presence of e-coli was ZERO. The highest number noted was 8 with several other months showing 5, 3, 2, and 1. Again this is well under the mcl of 100!

All in all, the testing numbers for our water are very favorable. Hats off to PWSD #3 Manager Roger Barker and his staff.

— by Troy Lesan

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