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Foul odor in water draws complaints

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Foul odor in water draws complaints
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

A foul odor and taste in the local water supply had Dickinson residents voicing their concern to City Hall on Monday.

An official at the Southwest Water Authority, however, said the city's water is safe for consumption and that the issue is temporary.

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"This is an issue we typically deal with twice a year in the spring and again in the fall," said SWA administrative assistant Pam Courton. "Lake Sakakawea actually turns over when the temperatures change, stirring up algae and vegetation within the lake."

Lake Sakakawea, supplies water to the Southwest Pipeline, which is operated by the SWA. The water from the lake is treated and stored before it makes its way to Dickinson residents.

Dickinson City Administrator Shawn Kessel said the city had received a number of complaints from residents about the odor.

"We took a number of calls about that issue (Monday), which we passed along to the Southwest Water Authority," Kessel said. "It's our understanding that they're aware of the problem and it's something that they would handle."

Duane Ott, owner of bottled water distributor Dakota Water Treatment in Dickinson, said he has fielded complaints about the city's water in the past, but hadn't received any in the past few days.

"This time it came a little earlier than expected due to some recent low temperatures, but this is something residents can expect twice every year," Courton said. "My understanding is that the lake turned this past weekend. It can sometimes take a week or two for the affected water to be flushed out of the pipeline."

Courton said that it there is no specific area or neighborhood affected and that some may be more sensitive to the change. Courton added that sodium permanganate, a disinfectant chemical, is typically applied to the water because of the odor issue.

"We understand why residents are concerned," Courton said. "But the water people are drinking and bathing in is completely safe."

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