Water

The city will not appeal a state mandate requiring chlorination of the public water system.

Washington City Council members voted unanimously not to appeal the order from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources following a closed executive session at Monday’s regular meeting.

The deadline to file an appeal is this Friday.

Last week, Washington Board of Public Works members passed a motion urging the council to appeal the order handed down July 22.

City Administrator Jim Briggs said he believes council members felt it was “very unlikely” that the city could succeed with an appeal which would end up in circuit court.

There also are concerns about the impact the boil water order had on local businesses and the risk of that happening again if the city stops chlorinating while an appeal is underway.

Immediately after the order was issued, the city installed chlorination equipment at all nine city wells.

During the open portion of Monday night’s council meeting, Briggs reported that since chlorination began, the city has received only 38 complaints about chlorine taste and odor and 59 reports of rusty water in homes, which have been addressed.

“Actually I thought we would’ve had more than that,” Briggs told the council.

He said the city is looking at ways to “balance” the chlorination so that it’s less noticeable for residents.

As part of the DNR’s order, the city must complete an engineering study of the issue.. The public works board approved a contract last week with Donohue and Associates to complete the study.

Briggs said he spoke with Donohue representatives, who already are studying the city’s water distribution system.

“We asked them their thoughts about coliform in the water,” Briggs said. During that discussion, the consultants mentioned that a regional organization comprised of 10 states, including Missouri, has been urging promotion of chlorination of all public water systems.

He told the council Monday that the Donohue study will look at ways of directing water flows in the lines to see if movement of the water can balance the chlorine in the system.