PAWNEE ROCK – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Tuesday afternoon issued a boil water advisory for the Pawnee Rock public water distribution system. The advisory took effect on Tuesday and will remain in effect until the conditions that placed the system at risk of bacterial contamination are resolved.
According to Pawnee Rock Mayor Terry Mead, the mechanical failure of a frost-free hydrant at the base of the water tower caused the pressure in the system to drop. The purpose of the hydrant is for filling tanks for fire fighting. During scheduled maintenance, the hydrant was opened, and it would not shut. Since then, the hydrant has been capped, and pressure has returned to normal. Samples were taken and sent to the KDHE lab for analysis.
“The soonest we’ll have results is Friday,” Mead said.
Repairing the hydrant requires specialized technicians. Because of current travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 response, they are unable to fix the hydrant at this time, Mead said. The hydrant must be repaired by Winter he added.
The loss of pressure, even for a short period of time, automatically triggers a boil water advisory, Mead said. According to the KDHE, failure to maintain adequate pressure may result in a loss of chlorine residuals and bacterial contamination.
Customers should observe the following precautions until further notice:
• If your tap water appears dirty, flush the water lines by letting the water run until it clears.
• Boil water for one minute prior to drinking or food preparation or use bottled water.
• Dispose of ice cubes and do not use ice from a household automatic icemaker.
• Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces by immersion for at least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.
• Water used for bathing does not generally need to be boiled. Supervision of children is necessary while bathing so that water is not ingested. Persons with cuts or severe rashes may wish to consult their physicians.
Regardless of whether the public water supplier or KDHE announced a boil water advisory, only KDHE can issue the rescind order following testing at a certified laboratory.
For consumer questions, contact the water system or KDHE at 785-296-5514. For consumer information visit KDHE’s PWS Consumer Information webpage at www.kdheks.gov/pws/emergencyresponse/water_disruption.htm.
Restaurants and other food establishments that have questions about the impact of the boil water advisory on their business can contact the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s food safety and lodging program at email@example.com or call 785-564-6767.