Beaver Bay water woes won't ebbBeaver Bay has been plagued by water main breaks in the past two weeks after attempting to get its water tower back up and working.
By: Brittany Berrens, Mike Creger, Lake County News Chronicle
Beaver Bay has been plagued by water main breaks in the past two weeks after attempting to get its water tower back up and working.
A boil order was issued again Tuesday evening after a fourth incident. Boil orders were also issued Aug. 25 and 29.
Because water pressures have dropped to levels that could allow bacteria to grow, residents were instructed to boil water for one minute before drinking. The water is OK for everyday use except for drinking.
Each time the pressure drops due to breaks, the Minnesota Department of Health must test the water before removing a boil order. After a water main break last week, which was repaired and pressure restored, health department officials tested the water Friday. The department concluded that bacteria levels were safe, and the boil order was lifted Saturday.
City administrator John McCurtain expected the water system to be at full capacity by Tuesday after crews finished painting the water tank this week. A call to McCurtain Wednesday went unanswered, so it is unclear if the system will be running as expected Tuesday.
The problem has been with pressure in pipes when the lines are opened to the tower. Residents living on top of the hill were experiencing low water pressure during repairs, so pressure was increased to get water up the hill. Vibrating pipes are likely causing the breaks in the lines and then an overall pressure drop in the system.
City council member Tom Harris on Wednesday called the process of getting the water tower working “frustrating” and doesn’t expect an easy fix. “We’ll probably continue to have problems,” he said.
Beaver Bay has one full-time maintenance person who oversees the water operation. The city contracts another person who has a license to run the water plant. Harris said the lead team on getting the water tower online is the city’s engineering firm.
“We are working on this on an hourly basis,” Harris said. “Most people realize we’re working hard to work through the problems.”
The town’s temporary water supply is coming from a water tanker truck filled in Silver Bay. The city is offering bottled water to residents and businesses, Harris said, who “have been great throughout.” Zup’s grocery store in Silver Bay is ordering extra water to keep the city stocked.
“It’s been rough on the businesses but they’ve handled it well,” Harris said.
Todd Krynski, one of the owners of Camp 61 Bunk-house and Restaurant, said the series of water main breaks have been a pain but he has a business to run.
“We just bury our heads and roll with it,” he said.
Krysnki says he’s been buying bottled water, bagged ice, and canned beverages for his restaurant and hotel guests, which are all added costs he normally wouldn’t acquire. He said Silver Bay has been quick to help out Beaver Bay with their water supply, and that neighbors have brought him jugs full of clean drinking water to use.
The city has been posting updates on its website, www.beaverbaymn.com. Updates are also posted at the post office in Beaver Bay for those who do not have access to the internet.
There is a city council meeting at 7 p.m. tonight where the water problems are expected to be discussed.