Roberts water boil order lifted after nearly a month - East Idaho News

Roberts water boil order lifted after nearly a month

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ROBERTS – A boil order has been lifted after over a month of water quality issues in Roberts.

According to the Department of Environmental Quality, the boil order for the city of Roberts is lifted as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

RELATED | Boil order issued for Roberts after E.coli is found in water

Samples taken of the water on Monday showed on Tuesday that no harmful bacteria currently exist in the water system.

“After eighteen total coliform and E.coli bacteria samples were collected and returned absent between March 1, 2023, and March 13, 2023, the Department of Environment Quality concurs with the city of Robert’s decision to lift the Boil Order for E.coli that was issued Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023,” states a document from DEQ that was provided to the City of Roberts. “The city of Roberts and its licensed operator, Mountain West Environmental, will continue to collect additional samples throughout the distribution. Sample results will be made available for the public to access.”

The boil has been in place since Feb. 25, with a do not drink order in place before that from Feb. 9. to Feb. 10.

The city of Roberts received complaints on Feb. 9 from residents experiencing brown, dirty water that smelled strongly of chlorine. The city then posted a Facebook message that the water was still safe and DEQ had been contacted.

The city later backtracked and said DEQ had actually contacted the city with concerns about water quality.

Later that evening, the city posted another message advising city residents not to drink the water and stating that a “do not drink” order had been issued by DEQ, which is different than a boil order. The city did not post any instructions differentiating the two types of orders.

RELATED | Residents are concerned and the DEQ is involved after water in Roberts comes out brown

Residents later learned that there had been an over-chlorination event, causing the levels of chlorine in the water system to be higher than the Environmental Protection Agencies allow.

The over-chlorination was reportedly due to the city switching water wells without contacting DEQ to confirm the necessary processes and failing to conduct several of the regulations required by DEQ in event that the city needed to switch wells.

The switching of the well later led to harmful bacteria, including E.Coli, being introduced into the water from the use of an older storage tank that had never been cleaned, along with a well that hadn’t been disinfected, according to Kelsey Carter, a Drinking Water Compliance Officer at DEQ.

According to Carter, a community system like Roberts will normally sample bacteria once a month, but in this situation, both DEQ and the city of Roberts have been taking multiple samples for multiple contaminants several times per week. All sample results are available on DEQ’S website.

RELATED | Roberts mayor apologizes for month long boil order, explains what’s next for water system

DEQ reminds the public to be aware that further repairs are still being conducted on the city of Roberts’ primary well.

“Mountain West Environmental remains in continuous contact with DEQ staff providing updates being made to the system,” states DEQ in the document. “Required and additional testing will be performed before water from the primary well is allowed to be distributed in the community.”

Residents should also conduct a complete flush of the plumbing systems in their homes.

Read here to learn how to conduct a full and proper flush of your water pipes.