Photo of Paulina from city website.

A small city in northwest Iowa is trying to conserve its drinking water after flooding from heavy rains caused a water line to burst last week.

The line feeds into the Paullina city wells and water tower and supplies drinking water for the city’s 1,000 residents. The line was fixed and cleaned — but testing Sunday showed bacteria and they’re cleaning it again. Paullina city clerk Sandy Fritz says it’s been stressful for the city and its residents.

“You’re just constantly dealing with people calling about what do we do about this – like the high school, should we have the football game, should we get spot-a-pots,” Fritz says. “And like the carwash, they graciously said you know what we’re just gonna close. We want to get our businesses back up and running too.” Fritz says she expects water to be back up and running by Wednesday or Thursday.

“Everybody is conserving water which has helped immensely. And then also we’ll just keep sanitizing that line and keep sending the tests into the lab until it’s clear — and then we can hook that line back into our reservoir and that will pump back into the water tower,” according to Fritz.

The HyVee in Cherokee donated 10 large pallets of drinking water to the city, which they have handing out to residents. O’Brien County Emergency Management has been helping out with the situation. They’ve been monitoring water remaining in the water tower to make sure there is still some left for people to wash their hands and take quick showers.

(By Katie Peikes, Iowa Public Radio)