Saline Investigating Cloudy Water


Saline’s city government is on the look out for cloudy tap water. The city has been receiving complaints lately about water coming cloudy out of the tap, in a series of isolated incidents. While the city is confident that the water is safe, Mayor Marl did ask city staff to bring more data to the next City Council meeting to look for a potential fix to the occasionally cloudy water.

“What is likely happening is residents are experiencing rust or brown water issues inside their homes,” City Manager O’Toole said. “There’s a number of reasons that might have caused this, but it seems to happen every year around this time, so for our purposes we’re trying to locate where this is happening, to determine whether or not this is a systematic issue, and then help us determine how to prioritize our flushing.”

The city has to flush its system on a regular basis. Although Marl didn’t have data to back this up, he did speculate that this was a repeat of what happened a year ago, when small amounts of sediment showed up at the end of August and beginning of September. Theories as to why range from weather conditions to the system simply ageing.

One thing that the city is certain of is that the water itself is clean. Director of Public Works Larry Sirls said that he has already confirmed that the water coming from the treatment plant is clean and pure. And judging by the pattern of where the cloudy water has been reported, pictured, the city is confident that the sediment is coming from the service pipes that lead into private property.

“We know based on the data that it’s the water main itself. It’s getting disturbed and getting through to people’s house’s,” Sirls said. “It’s time to flush the water main.”

No action was taken, September 13. As the city is weighing its options, council and staff said they are looking for members of the public to help them collect data. O’Toole said that sample vials would be available through city hall to allow citizens to take samples of their water when it comes out cloudy. The samples, which you will be able to drop off at City Hall, will allow the city to determine the pattern of where this is happening and allow them to analyze the sediment to allow Saline’s bureaucracy to make sure they know what they are dealing with.

“I think the best standard is to do a comprehensive main flushing twice a year; early spring and then late summer or early fall,” Mayor Brian Marl said. “As we look to 2021 specifically, what we know is that we had a particularly wet sprint and early summer. Then it became dry. Water usage in late July, August and September spiked. That disrupts the minerals in the water. Compound that with that we’re five months out from our most recent flushing. I believe that is the genesis for the water complaints that we’re seeing today.”

Mayor Pro Tem Dean Girbach concurred.

“High water usage increases the velocity of the water coming through, so it stirs up the system itself,” Girbach said.

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