Water Quality in Central Henderson
Henderson Water Utility (HWU) has announced that some customers in Central Henderson are experiencing issues with taste, odor and color in the finished water delivered to their homes.
In mid-August, HWU removed the 1,000,000 gallon Vine Street Elevated Tank from service so that it could be painted and repaired. The Vine St tank serves as a pressure regulator and storage point for the City’s Central Pressure Zone, which is roughly bounded by Sand Lane, the Ohio River, 14th Street and the Graham Hill area. When Vine St is out-of-service, the water system is run off pressure provided by the Atkinson Park tank, near Methodist Hospital.
These changes in system operation can also cause water to flow in different directions than normal in the distribution system, and that can cause deposits and sediment in the water mains to become suspended in the water. These operational changes can also lead to lower pressure and flow, especially at higher elevations, and in areas with smaller or dead-end lines, in areas of the East End, south of Downtown, and on Outer Second Street. These issues, as well as others, can result in lower residual chlorine levels and a higher suspended concentration of iron, leading to cloudy or “rusty” water. The suspended iron consumes additional chlorine, making the problem worse. Iron concentration greater than 0.3 mg/L can lead to discoloration. Concentrations greater than 25 mg/L can lead to health complications. Testing performed by HWU staff is finding concentrations in the .5 to .8 mg/L. We are continuing to closely monitor this.
These issues should not impact customers in the North pressure zone (north of 14th Street and east of the Cloverleaf), or the South pressure zone (south and west of Sand Lane). Customers on larger lines (8″ and above) generally will not experience problems, either.
If customers sense an objectionable odor or taste, or rusty color in their water, they may call HWU @ 270.826.2824 to report the problem. A water quality specialist will be dispatched to perform flushing or testing nearby.
Though rusty water may look and taste unpleasant—and possibly stain sinks and clothing—it is not normally a health concern. A possible exception is people with hemochromatosis, a rare disorder that causes excess iron accumulation in body organs. On its own, rust in water is not a sign of harmful bacteria or lead, which are hazards. In fact, the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for iron in drinking water are based on aesthetics (taste, odor, color), not safety concerns.
To combat the problems caused by low chlorine residuals, HWU has increased the amount of chlorine in the finished water in the system, and has increased flushing and water quality monitoring. Crews have been dedicated to flushing, to lessen the impact on household use.
The Vine Street tank will be back in service in four to six weeks. We appreciate your continued patience with us during this time.
For further information or questions, please contact me at the numbers below, or by email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Williams, P.E.
Technical Manual for Potable Water Facilities
HWU technical and engineering staff has revised and rewritten their Technical Manual for Potable Water Facilities. This is the first revision since 2004, and these standards are used for new construction, development and repairs. Details are available here.
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