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Water boil advisory continues as city waits on bacteria test results

A water boil advisory continues within a section of the city of Winona after fears of contaminated water.

The boil advisory includes residences along Janet Marie Lane, Debi Lei Drive, Diane Loreli Lane, Bluebird Court, Bluffview Drive, Lohse Drive, Hillview Drive, Brookview Drive, Glenview Drive, Glenview Court, Glenview Road, Glenmary Road, Glendale Road, Glenecho Lane, Glenecho Road, Glen Lane and West Burns Valley Road.

Brian DeFrang, director of public works for Winona, said that two water main breaks Tuesday caused the concerns that bacteria might be in the water and could cause illness in residents who use the water to drink, brush their teeth, or cook without boiling it first.

The first water main break — located near Highway 43 — was fixed quickly on Tuesday, but the second one — located near the entrance of Valley Oaks — was not able to be repaired until approximately 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Because the main was 20 inches, not many parts were easily available to fix it, DeFrang shared.

He said that parts had to be sourced from several places around Minnesota.

The risk of contamination, DeFrang said, does not necessarily come from the lack of pressure from during this down time, though, as previously stated by the city.

DeFrang said the water boil advisory was issued because of the swampy conditions where the 20-inch water main was located.

DeFrang said these breaks are normal, but they more often occur during the winter. He said it’s not certain if a particular event or factor caused the breaks, instead saying it’s a normal part of having a water system.

DeFrang said this is the first time in his 17 years with the city, though, that a boiling water advisory has been issued.

He said there are concerns that some of the swamp water and its bacteria may have entered the pipe, and, even though thorough cleaning was done as it was fixed, there may still be some bacteria present.

“We’re not thinking that happened, but out of an abundance of caution we are taking the risk out of it. We want to make sure this is clean before we tell people they can drink it,” DeFrang said.

A test sample of the water has been sent to La Crosse to be test. Results are expected back by noon on Friday.

If the test results come back negative for any bacteria, then the water boil advisory will conclude.

If there is bacteria, though, the water boil advisory will continue as the water is treated by disinfecting and flushing the mains, according to a press release from the city.

The water boil advisory, according to the city, is expected to last until Sunday at the latest.

The city has made a correction to its press release from Wednesday, saying that no safe drinking water will be provided by the city to the public during the boil advisory.

Residents should bring their water to a rolling boil for at least a minute and then cool it before consuming.

Symptoms of an illness caused by possible bacteria in the water may include nausea, cramps, diarrhea and headaches.

Anyone with health concerns or questions should contact their health care providers.

For more information, call Brian DeFrang at 507-457-8237.

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