KRWA assists Burr Oak with contaminated well


burroak2BURR OAK, Kan. – Doug Guenther and Greg Metz, Technical Assistants with the Kansas Rural Water Association, went to the City of Burr Oak on June 24th to assist with a loss of chlorine and helped restore a contaminated well threatening the community’s health.

“I came at the request of Mayor Walter Wilson, because they had trouble maintaining their chlorine residuals,” Guenther explained.

Burr Oak has a unique arrangement. They purchase water from the nearby Jewell County Rural Water District #1 and blend it with water pumped from the Burr Oak city well. Water from the city well contains too much selenium, and the blending process reduced the concentrations to acceptable levels. Sometime during the process, however, the chlorine residual of the incoming water was being reduced from 1.9 mg/L to 0.0 mg/L, essentially nothing.

burroak1“I determined the loss of residue had to be from a contaminated well,” Guenther said. “I recommended they stop using the well until it could be decontaminated.”

The city relied on the Jewel County #1 water until Metz could return on June 30th to assist with super-chlorinating the well.

“We used a 1,500 gallon supply tank, and added 20 gallons of liquid 12 percent sodium hypochlorite,” Metz explained. “We pumped all of that back into the well and allowed it to rest for 24 hours.”

The next day they pumped the water from the well for nearly four hours until all the chlorine was removed.

“There was a substantial amount of discolored water at the start of pumping,” Metz said.

Once the water tested for 0.0 mg/L of chlorine, the well was put back on-line and Burr Oak began blending their water as they had previously. Metz conducted a follow-up a week later, and Mayor Wilson reported the utility was running fine and they were maintaining their chlorine residuals.