Verndale water tower goes dry
By MIKE O’ROURKE
Verndale’s water tower temporarily went dry Friday morning, causing a 24-hour ban on drinking the water without boiling it and sending Verndale Public School students home at 11:30 a.m.
Verndale Mayor Ardith Carr said Well No. 1 malfunctioned and two other problems ensued: the system failed to switch over to a second well and a maintenance alarm failed to alert city staff. As a result the well went dry at about 7:20 a.m. When the city became aware of the problem, water service resumed at about 7:40 a.m. but because the well had run dry Minnesota Health Department protocol called for the water to be set aside for 24 hours and then tested before it was suitable to drink from the tap, Carr said.
Firefighters went door-to-door Friday with information explaining the problem and instructing people not to drink the water without boiling it for the next 24 hours.
Carr said information on the water problems was posted at city hall and the post office. Downtown businesses and the school were also notified she said.
“It’s a small enough town that word of mouth travels pretty fast,” he said.
Verndale’s population is about 575 people, she said.
Carr said water fountains at the school were covered and because the school couldn’t serve lunch the students were told they’d be released at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
She said residents should check the city’s website and listen to area radio stations for the expected all clear to be given on the water on Saturday. Carr said there had been no problems with city water before the well malfunctioned. She recently accepted an award on behalf of the city for its clean water practices and its proactive cooperation with farmers to ensure that nitrogen doesn’t enter the water system.
“I think that everything has been done as efficiently as we could,” she said.
School superintendent Paul Brownlow said Friday students were not allowed to drink or consume city water. He said the school district did purchase water so it would have a drinkable supply.