The water plant in Glenwood was shut down after being overtaken by floodwaters and a spokesman with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it is not known when the plant can be back up and running.
DNR Environmental Specialist Keith Wilken is working with others to try and get the plant going again, but says there’s not a quick answer. “There is not estimated time frame at this point in time,” Wilken says.
Wilken says he hasn’t been able to even get to the plant and with floodwaters still remaining, it is tough to know what needs to be done. “There’s a lot of unknowns that can’t even be answered at this point, and that probably won’t be known until crews can get access to the wells and treatment plant,” according to Wilken. “You know, are there pumps and motors that will need repaired and replaced? How is all the electrical equipment and the monitoring equipment.”
Wilken says the status of the wells used to supply the water is another big question. “We’re going to probably have to assume that they got inundated with flood waters. The wells will probably have to be pumped to waste for a significant amount of time. They will probably have to be shock chlorinated,” Wilken says. “And then we will have do testing on the wells to verify that the water in the wells is safe.”
They’ll go through the same process in reviewing the treatment plant to see how much damage was done to equipment. “You’ll have to work at getting those flood waters out, getting new water in. Getting that water within the treatment plant tested,” Wilken explains. “Then it will be the same thing out in the distribution system. Once the water leaving the treatment plant is confirmed being safe — then the distribution system will need to be flushed.”
Wilken says they have to be very meticulous in testing the water to make sure that none of it is contaminated in any step of the process of bringing the plant back online. “If at any point in time those samples are failing — restart the process — do more shocking, do more testing, with the ultimate goal of confirming that water will be safe for the residents to drink,” Wilken says.
Trucks are hauling water from Red Oak and Shenandoah to Glenwood, and Wiken says they are asking residents to boil that water to avoid any possible contamination. Glenwood’s water treatment plant connection to the city of Pacific Junction was shut off to conserve what water is remaining. Hamburg’s water treatment plant was also inundated by floodwaters and was shut down. Water will be trucked in from the City of Shenandoah to Hamburg and a bottled water advisory is in effect for residents