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Brainerd announces contaminated water: Residents advised to boil

Brainerd announces contaminated water: Residents advised to boil

Brainerd Public Utilities announced Thursday night there is total coliform bacteria in the city’s water supply, posing a health risk to residents.

BRAINERD, Minn. — Brainerd residents are advised to boil their water before drinking or using it after Brainerd Public Utilities announced Thursday night that the water is contaminated by bacteria and may make residents sick. 

The advisory recommends that all Brainerd residents boil their water before drinking, brushing their teeth or cooking with it. Officials say to bring water to a rolling boil for one minute and then let it cool before using it to ensure the water is fully decontaminated. 

The Brainerd Public Utilities announced in a series of Facebook posts that the water is contaminated with total coliform bacteria, possibly from construction that occurred on July 27. Officials said they plan to chlorinate, then test the system, so there will be chlorinated water throughout the whole city’s distribution area for 24 hours. 

The bacteria can cause short-term effects such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. It may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some elderly people and immunocompromised people. 

Several residents expressed their frustration in the Facebook post comments, upset that it took two weeks for the city to issue an advisory after the construction incident.

In a statement to KARE 11 Friday afternoon, Brainerd Public Utilities President Patrick Wussow explained that the department wasn’t notified until Aug. 10 that water tests came back contaminated.

Wussow said the city follows MDH guidelines for testing drinking water, and Thursday was the first time they were notified of an issue.

Officials said in the release that they expect to resolve the issue by Aug. 14. As of Friday morning, this is a water boil advisory, meaning that showering and bathing are not off-limits. 


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