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Tap Water Discoloration and Taste Causes Concerned Citizen to Investigate

OTTUMWA, IA (KYOU) – “Now we’re going to shake it up. That is over 8.0.”

Nate Al-Khanfar is checking out the pH of Ottumwa’s water. There’s been a change in the city’s drinking water. And he wants to see if it’s a danger to his health.

“I won’t drink coffee in town right now in town if it comes from the water source. The water does have a muddy taste.”

Ottumwa’s water pH is less than 9. And to his amazement the water in Oskaloosa.

“We’re going to go ahead and test the pH levels of the water in Oskaloosa. You do see that it is above an 8.0. And in Albia we are also over an 8.0. Just a little above an 8.0 (in Fairfield).”

They are all around the same level.

Tim Albert from Ottumwa Water and Hydro said, “The pH is not really the measure to go by. The measure we use is to see that there’s no bacteria in the water, it’s clear, all the nitrate levels are low. Those are the primary constituents and good to measure.”

Ottumwa Water and Hydro released a statement, “We have to blend water from the river and water from our alternate source to deal with the high levels of nitrate from the Des Moines River.”

Albert said it’s the algae in the river causing the problem. “What makes plants grow? Amonia broken down in the nitrate. So when nitrates enter the water the work like a well-fertilized garden. There are debates on where the nitrates are coming from. There are a lot of field tiles so some of them come from there. A little of powder activated carbon base leaves a little bit of dirt taste to it.”

Until algae levels and nitrate levels are reduced, they will continue to use water from their secondary source and monitor treatment.

Albert noted, “Every two hours, we are testing water throughout our facility.”

That was enough to convince Al-Khanfar the water was safe to drink.

Albert informed us, “The water is safe to drink.”


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