MECHANICVILLE — After two weeks of city residents having to boil water because of turbidity in the supply, the state Department of Health on Friday lifted the advisory.
The precautionary order was lifted after the city’s water supply for a second consecutive day tested within acceptable standards for turbidity and bacteria, DOH spokesman Gary Holmes said.
The city announced the lifting just after 4 p.m. “The situation has been resolved, and two consecutive days of satisfactory total coliform bacteria sample results have been received,” the city said an email quoting the Health Department.
“It’s safe to use for any purpose,” said Mayor Dennis Baker, who was in the process of personally notifying some of the businesses that use city water.
Residents will be getting a letter in the coming days outlying what has been done to address the water concerns, and the Health Department will be working with the city on long-term solutions, Holmes said. That could include the city making a connection to the Saratoga County Water Authority, to serve as a backup system.
The boil water advisory was ordered on Aug. 2, based on turbidity — cloudiness in the water — that was attributed to this summer’s heavy rains washing soil into the reserve and stirring up sediment in the water. The presence of sediment raised the risk of bacteria, and required the city to use more chlorine in treating the water. Turbidity remained an issue with the water until this week, based on testing.
In the meantime, the city cleaned filters in the water system, flushed hydrants and tweaked the chemical levels in its treatment process. “The city did a nice job,” Holmes said Friday afternoon.
Holmes said the city has received a $2.4 million grant and a $2.6 million no-interest loan, which together will be used to make improvements to the city’s water infrastructure and make the upgrades needed to connect to the county system. The county is in the process of installing a new line from Stillwater to Halfmoon, which will make it easier for Mechanicville to connect.
The connection will be a backup and won’t replace the city reservoir, Baker said, but it would provide a safe alternative if a similar turbidity situation arises in the future.
“Basically that connection was requested by the state so that if something happened we would just be able to turn on a switch to the county,” Baker said. “The county will require a minimum purchase and we will do that, but the majority of the water will come from us.”
Holmes said DOH is also working with the city to address the potential presence of chlorination byproducts in the water, which are within acceptable standards but can increase when more chlorine is being used in the system.
“It’s our recommendation they use the letter to educate residents about the system and what is being done,” Holmes said.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.
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