Two weeks after the Hannibal Board of Public Works addressed complaints from some consumers about “earthy” tasting water, Heath Hall, director of operations for the BPW, reports that the situation has improved.
“We’re not in the clear yet, but we’re getting closer,” he said, stressing that the city’s water continues to be safe to drink.
Hall fielded a couple of calls the last week of December from customers of the Ralls County Public Water Supply District No. 1, which purchases its water from the BPW. According to Hall, both callers noted some odor, especially when they ran their hot water.
“They’re quite a ways out in the (Ralls County) system. I’m not sure if it hasn’t run through the whole system yet or maybe it’s just an isolated thing where we’re still having some issues,” he said.
The BPW continues to follow the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ recommended treatment - using additional carbon.
“That seems to be the approach for everybody,” said Hall, who noted earlier in December that other communities which take their water from the Mississippi River were encountering similar issues. “The carbon absorbs the organics that are causing the problems in the water. We’ve added carbon up there for years for taste and odor, we’re just adding more of it now.”
The unusual smell and flavor have been attributed to problems with algae growth related to this year’s dry weather and the unusually low river conditions. During the Dec. 19 BPW Board meeting it was reported that a lack of water flow on the river is contributing to the situation.
“That’s causing a lot of our problems,” said Hall. “Our treatment facility is set up for river water and it’s kind of getting stagnant. It’s sitting there like a lake and some of the layers just aren’t moving.”