To dispel rumors of bacterial contamination in the city’s water lines, Oakdale Interim Public Services Director Jeff Gravel announced the recent chlorination of the city’s water lines was due to construction and in no way a response to “fecal matter” in the system as some had reported on social media.
“Contamination is a strong word,” Gravel told the city council in response to a question by Councilman Rich Murdoch at the closing of the Dec. 5 meeting. “During the course of the C Street project … dirt got into the waterline main line.”
The C Street construction included removal and replacement of waterlines before the roadway was paved with a new asphalt surface.
Gravel said the city, per regulations, contacted the state to report the infiltration and for direction on how to proceed.
The city then chlorinated the water system with a low dose of an “edible grade chlorine.”
As part of the process, the city is currently flushing the contaminated areas, followed by re-flushing the lines with only water to get the chlorine out of the system.
Both Gravel and City Manager Bryan Whitemyer said the chlorine taste and smell will taper off within the next few days.
“For all intents and purposes, it was just dirt,” Gravel said. “There was no bacteria and there was no fecal matter (in the waterline).
Whitemyer said that mailed water bills will contain a statement about the flushing. The notice will state that after an “adequate flushing by the city” no bacteria was found and after repeated tests no known bacteria was found.
He said there was no health risk to the public.
“Oakdale has the best water around,” Whitemyer said, adding that the city’s water is pumped straight from the ground with nothing added to it. “Sometimes at a construction site dirt gets in there and we have a procedure for it.”