‘Gonna get worse before it gets better’

By Marcie Klomp

That is the mantra of Public Works Director Casey Sebastian.

Many who are testing their water temperature are finding the temperature falling slightly. Many media outlets are encouraging residents to keep an eye on it if it gets below 40 degrees. The lower it is, the more probable a line could freeze. Residents might want to start running a stream of water to help keep the line from freezing.

Sebastian said the cold stretch this week is only going to push the frost deeper, making more problems likely.

One of those problems is water main breaks. Lime Springs only had one break due to weather before last week. Then a main broke at the east well, near the water tower on Feb. 18. Usually when a pipe breaks, the valve to that main is shut off, stopping water flow. This valve was broke and had to be fixed.

In the meantime, water pressure was nearly non-existant. Mayor Barb Robinson informed Howard-Winneshiek School Superintendent John Carver about the problem. The students were bused to Cresco Elementary on Wednesday.

Early Wednesday, Sebastian called City Engineer George Tekippe, who told him the break called for a precautionary boil order. Robinson then contacted two radio stations as per protocol for an order. Word got out to residents on the community sign and through the Lime Springs Herald’s Facebook page (Like it!) and other social media.

As it turns out, the boil order should have been called an advisory. Amber Sauser, Environmental Specialist with DNR, said, “A boil order is required through an administrative order if e-coli is present in the water.” In other words, a known contaminant has been found in the water.

An advisory is announced at the discretion of the operator. Most times it would happen when a main breaks and water pressure gets low, such as happened on Tuesday/Wednesday. If a main breaks and water is still gushing out when it is fixed, there is little likelihood contaminants entered the water supply.

It is up to the residents whether they want to boil their water or not in either case, but Sauser suggested it would be a good idea to do so and be on the safe side.

After the main is fixed, two samples need to be taken within 24 hours of each other, to come back okay before the order/advisory is over. The order/advisory was lifted Saturday afternoon.

The Herald will try to pass on information in a timely manner via its Facebook page. Those with neighbors who are not techies should give them a call or stop over for a cup of coffee and chat!

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