Update: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016. The precautionary boil water notice has been rescinded by the City of Bunnell following restoration of the system’s water pressure and the bacteriological survey showing the water is safe to drink.
For Bunnell residents it’s like old times, when boil-water advisories were the routine of living with an old water plant. That was to have been resolved with the opening of a new $4.8 million water plant less than a year ago. It hasn’t been.At least not yet: the glitches of a new plant are still bedeviling utility officials.
Overnight Sunday, the water plant shut down again for about half an hour, the water pressure in pipes fell from 60 pounds per square inch to below 22 pounds, some customers may have gone without water for a while, or experienced very low pressure, and the city issued another boil-water advisory, its second in two months. A similar problem shut down the plant in September, though that problem required the city to hook up to Palm Coast water for a while. Today’s problem was more brief, and there was enough water in the water tower to ensure a resumption of service.
Bunnell residents are advised to boil their water for anything involving drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth or washing dishes, and to do so until Tuesday, when the city expects to get the results of the tested water.
Less than two weeks ago the plant was the scene of an odd incident when a suspect fleeing police managed to get into the plant and jump into a filtration water tank before he was arrested. That required the tank to be drained and disinfected.
Perry Mitrano, the city’s utilities director, said there was “no water break, nothing egregious like that, no foul reasons, just a production reasons.” The precise nature of the problem is not known. It’s “some type of malfunction we’ve had intermittently at the plant, we know where it is but the technicians are going to try to resolve it,” Mitrano said.
He said the problem is related to a malfunctioning float in one of the water tank. The float tells the plant the water level inside the tank. For some reason, the float is malfunctioning, giving the plant a false reading of a full tank, thus causing the water production to shut down, and the tank to drain, but not to kick back on. The production issue lasted half an hour, Mitrano said, as alarms were set off. That enabled crews to repair the issue quickly and get production flowing again. But it doesn’t eliminate the need for a boil-water advisory.
“We’re being prudent, we’re being honest,” Mitrano said. “It’s an inconvenience, we understand that, that’s all it comes down to.”
Part of the city’s advisory includes the following advice on how to disinfect water with bleach: “Tap water can be disinfected by adding eight drops of unscented household bleach (4 – 6 percentactive ingredients) to each gallon of water, then mixing the water and allowing it to stand for a minimum period of 30 minutes. Note: cloudy water requires 16 drops of bleach and a 30 minute contact time. Also, other approved chemical disinfectants are available at stores that sell camping and hiking supplies.”