City of Washington

The city will continue working to “balance” the amount of chlorine injected into the water system in order to minimize the impact on users, according to City Administrator Jim Briggs.

“We’re trying to tweak the system to minimize the chlorine taste in the water,” Briggs told city council members Monday night.

Two weeks ago, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources issued an order mandating the city chlorinate its water system after a water sample tested positive for E. coli bacteria.

Briggs said he spoke Friday with DNR representatives who were inquiring about how the chlorination process was working and if there were any problems.

The city has installed chlorine injection pumps at all nine city wells and all are operating well.

“We’re just trying to get the system balanced for some areas,” Briggs said.

He said there have been few problems and relatively few complaints about the transition.

The city previously hired Donohue and Associates to study the entire city water system. The scope of that project is being expanded to include recommendations for chlorinating the system.

City officials plan to meet with the consultants later this week, Briggs said.

During Monday’s meeting, Councilman Mark Hidritch said he’s had several people ask him whether the city has a plan to reimburse customers who purchased bottled water during the five-day period when the DNR issued a boil water order.

Briggs noted that water customers are only charged for the water that goes through their meter.

People who decided to buy bottled “could’ve boiled their water,” he told Hidritch.

Those people who chose to buy bottled water used less city water, Briggs added, and their bills would reflect that.

Because some people chose to boil their water while others didn’t Briggs said he didn’t know how the city would calculate reimbursements.

Briggs said, personally, he has not had anyone call with complaints about the water issues.