Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

March 8, 2013

Drought may share blame for Pershing water issue

Residents in Attica and Pershing were under another boil order over the weekend, due to a broken water line. Marion County Environmental Health Director Cory Frank said he was told that it may have been caused by the soil.

The line is owned by the Pershing Water Utility, but as the service area is an unincorporated areas of the county, Frank tried to assist. He spoke with an engineering company who said the break could have been caused by soil expansion and cracks, caused by dry conditions.

The break occurred at 1960 Highway 5, Poplar Street, north of Attica. Calls began to pour in about water pressure issues around 7 a.m. Friday morning, and Frank was notified a few hours later.

Concern with a water line break is that it provides an opportunity for the supply to be contaminated.

“We’re concerned,” Frank said. “It has been frequent.”

Frank has requested assistance from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources regarding the issue.

Janet Gastineau is the DNR representative who has been working on the Pershing-Attica issue. Pershing was to have been connected to a rural water system by November 2012. Increased pressure from this may have also been the cause of some of the infrastructure issues.

The DNR has a schedule for the improvements that must be made to the water distribution system. Plans and specifications are due in June and construction must commence in August. The distribution system must be complete by the end of the year.

Frank is also working on a wastewater system installation project for the same area. The system is being installed to try to avoid illegal discharges, which could seep into the water supply and cause contamination.

A series of tests were performed on the water supply before the boil order was lifted. The tests showed no contamination. Frank intends to stay in contact with the DNR to ensure they are doing their part to keep the water supply safe for these residents.

“I want to make sure the DNR is doing everything they can,” Frank said.

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