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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published June 26 2011

Drinking water still unsafe in Minot after possible contamination

MINOT, N.D. – About 50,000 residents in the Minot area continue to boil their drinking water or use bottled water after a plug failure caused a potential for contaminants to enter the water system.

The boil order was expanded today to communities surrounding Minot.

Jason Sorenson, water treatment plant superintendent, said a plug failed on Saturday, causing about 200,000 gallons of unfiltered water to enter the system before the failure was discovered about 20 minutes later.

The potentially contaminated water is mixed with about 1.5 million gallons of water, Sorenson said.

Larry Thelen with the North Dakota Department of Health said water could contain E. coli, total coliform bacteria and cryptosporidium.

The order to boil water for two minutes before using will continue for an unknown length of time, Thelen said.

The National Guard brought in a reverse osmosis water purification unit for Trinity Hospital today, said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk.

It takes 24 hours to test the water to ensure the water is safe. The unit, which can produce 60,000 gallons of water per day, is expected to be ready by Monday afternoon, Sprynczynatyk said.

Local restaurants have been affected by the water restrictions, which include the requirement to boil water before washing dishes.

The Starbucks at Barnes & Noble wasn’t offering coffee drinks today due to the water situation.

At Badlands restaurant, diners were eating out of to-go containers and cutting their steaks with plastic forks. Diners had the option of bottled beer, fruit juices or milk because fountain pop is affected.

While the order is considered a precaution, officials advised residents to heed the warnings.

“If there’s any doubt about the safety of the water that you’re using, don’t use it,” Thelen said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590