Press release from Todd Taylor, director, LaPorte Water Department
The City of LaPorte Water Department has high standards for both water quality and customer service. We pride ourselves on our innovative and proactive approaches to ensuring the best service to our customers, and work tirelessly to meet our self-imposed high standards, which exceed all government regulations.
With our commitment to outstanding service, we have been working non-stop to address the increase of rusty water incidents we have been experiencing since the beginning of the year. This is a new problem for us and we want to first and foremost reassure our customers on multiple fronts:
— First, the water provided through the LaPorte Water Department is constantly tested and monitored and it continues to pass all safety requirements.
— Second, we are working to better understand the causes of the rusty water and therefore better prevent incidents.
— Third, not only are we addressing this issue, but we have a very experienced staff with nine Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Certified Operators working to resolve the issue.
We have tied most of the complaints/rusty water incidents to unauthorized use of fire hydrants, disruptions from water main breaks, and a fire pump test. That being said, we are continuing to investigate if there are additional contributors to this issue.
What are we doing about this?
— Efforts are under way to improve communication with all area volunteer fire departments and contractors. City of LaPorte fire hydrants are not to be used without following proper procedures. If we are notified that a fire hydrant needs to be used, we can prepare by pumping more water into the system to replace the water flowing from the hydrant. This reduces the scouring effect of the high flow rate that picks up the mineral deposits (iron and manganese, which are not harmful) that causes the discolored water. We are also making sure that our treatment/filtration processes are doing what they are supposed to do by performing extensive testing.
— We are changing our water system flushing program, which is done spring and fall to remove settled iron from water mains. System flushing will begin on the evening of Sunday, April 23. General descriptions of areas (inserted with April bills) that we will be working in have been identified, but a specific timetable has purposefully not been set in order to let the system tell us where and how long to flush a certain area. It may take longer than the planned 2 weeks this year and there will likely be an increased number of households that experience rusty or discolored water. All customers are encouraged to look at the water flowing from faucets or filling washing machines, and to let water run until any rust clears if it is present. If it does not clear, please contact the Water Department so that we can further investigate contributing causes.
We have always set high standards for the water that we send to our customers. Our water quality staff has worked hard to meet all of these standards. You, the customer, should expect high quality water that is fairly priced and reliably supplied at all times. We are doing all that we can to see that those expectations are met, and thank you for your patience and participation in resolving this issue.