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Public Works

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July 13, 2020 11:50 AM

Discolored Water on East Side of Blaine

In early July a header pipe in a filter at water treatment plant three near Centennial High School failed. The filter particles are larger and heavier so they will not flush out easily, the city needs to push a lot of water through the system to get them...

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Latest Update:

August 25, 2020 8:21 AM

The City of Blaine has been dealing with discolored water issues mainly on the eastern side of the city over the past several weeks. The city has investigated the issues and has taken action to correct the issues and prevent further complications.

The water continues to be treated to meet the Minnesota Department of Health safe water quality standards. This includes the addition of chlorine for disinfection, fluoride for health, and a polysulfate to prevent corrosion in the pipes. The City of Blaine conducts a minimum of 12 water tests daily plus additional weekly tests to ensure safe drinking water.

At the beginning of July, a pipe broke inside one of the two filters in the water filter plant on the east side of the city. Replacement parts for the repairs took several weeks to manufacture and ship. Current estimates show the parts will be delivered by August 28. This means that repair work should be complete by September 4. The water will begin to clear up as this filtered water enters the system.

The filter failure led to filter media escaping from the tanks and being pushed out into the water system. Filter media is made of various sizes of sand particles and is used to capture the iron and manganese that occurs naturally in Blaine’s source water. As water passed over this escaped media, the captured iron and manganese was released back into the water that is supplied to the homes and businesses in the city. The release of the iron and manganese causes a concentrated discoloration similar to water flowing over coffee grounds. The majority of this escaped media has been flushed out of the system.

During this time when the filter plant was out of operation, water was supplied directly by the city well system without the removal of the natural iron and manganese. Historically the city needs to supplement the filtered water supply with treated well water each year, especially during the summer months when water demand is at its peak.

The city adds a treatment that holds the iron and manganese in suspension for 48-72 hours. After that time, those solids will begin to reappear. That is why residents may see discoloration or sediment show up in pools or other vessels holding water for more than a day, such as an unflushed toilet. Some residents may also see find sand particles coming through the system that are not captured without filtration. Each spring the water main flushing program helps to remove this sediment. As stated previously, this water meets all safe drinking water standards. The entire City of Blaine water system operated in this manner from its beginning in the early 1960s up until 2006-2007 when the first water filter plants were constructed.

The city is part way through the construction of a fourth filter plant that is larger and will double the capacity to provide filtered water to Blaine residents. This plant will be operational in the fall of 2021. With the addition of the new filter plant, the city will have the ability to filter all supplied water for the next several decades as the city fully builds out.