VERMILION — Residents in Vermilion may soon see an end to the boil alert, according to Mayor Eileen Bulan.
The city will tap into emergency water reserves and, pending approval from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, residents may not have to boil their water today.
Bulan said the water was never a danger to residents, however, and Safety Service Director Bob Kurtz said there was never any bacteria found in the water as previously reported. Vermilion’s water supply was found to have a high turbidity, or cloudiness to it.
Ohio EPA spokeswoman Dina Pierce said turbidity indicates that there is something wrong with the water, but not necessarily that it’s contaminated.
The boil alert began Friday evening after city employees dug up grass and dirt from on top of the clear water well. Kurtz said employees found several cracks in the roof of the well, which led to surface water from Friday’s storm mixing into the treated drinking water.
Kurtz said measurements from the Vermilion Water Plant have shown fluctuating turbidities, indicating that there may have been a problem with the roof before Friday.
EPA standards are that water cannot have a turbidity above 0.3, according to Kurtz. Pierce said Vermilion’s water had a turbidity of about 36 on Friday.
Kurtz said turbidity was measured at 0.14 on Thursday, but the city will not use Vermilion’s water until the roof of the clear well, which is approximately 47 years old, is fixed.
Bulan said an emergency Council meeting will be 6 p.m. today to discuss replacing the roof. Until then, the city will pay to use neighboring water supplies, although Bulan said a cost hasn’t been negotiated yet.
Bulan said no residents reported being sick from drinking the water, but Pierce said residents should continue boiling their water until the boil alert is lifted.
Pierce said whether people would get sick “depends on what’s in the dirt,” which reportedly mixed in with the drinking water.
“I would compare it to swimming in the lake and swallowing some of (the water),” she said. “Most people don’t get sick, but sometimes you can. … We just don’t know, and the turbidity indicates it’s a problem.”
Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.