City comments on water treatment concerns

Some Minot residents received a letter from the city earlier this week, informing them of a testing oversight at the city’s water treatment plant.

The letter stated that the City of Minot had not collected and reported the required number of samples in response to a positive test for E. coli bacteria in the month of November 2022. While this letter has caused some to be concerned about the drinkability of Minot’s water and Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Mark Paddock’s phone to ring off the hook, Paddock said the situation is actually well in hand.

“We did not collect a water sample from the proper source within the allotted time that the Department of Environmental Quality allowed,” Paddock explained. “Because we were late in collecting it, they sent me this letter of public notification with required language.”

The late samples in question were taken from upstream and downstream sources, and according to Paddock, both came back negative indicating the water was actually E. coli free. Paddock said such diligence is necessary when testing for such bacteria because false positives are not uncommon.

“If one factory has (E. coli) discovered, then it has to be further investigated to see if there really is bacteria or not, because this sample is so sensitive about how you collect,” Paddock said. “Many little minor things can cause a positive result to come back, such as sneezing, coughing or touching the inside of the bottle. Quite often with many water systems, operator error is involved, and that’s what happened.”

Paddock said that going forward the city will be increasing employee training and will be employing more supervisory verification to ensure that all reporting requirements are met.


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