To the Editor:
In the past several weeks, we have seen letters to the editor concerning the safety of Fairmont's drinking water. I'm sure most Fairmont citizens are concerned about our water. Every summer, we have a bloom of the blue green algae in our lakes. It is caused by warm weather, sunshine and nutrients in the water.
How many people buy bottled water at local retailers? What is the source of the water with which we fill the bottles? It is just filtered Fairmont water. Filtering/reverse osmosis won't remove cyanotoxins. (I purchase 5-gallon bottles direct from Culligan; it's expensive but it doesn't come from Fairmont lake water. It comes from a plant in Waseca that uses water from five wells ranging from 709 to 740 feet deep that draw water from the Prairie Du Chien-Jordan aquifer.)
What are we to believe about our water?
Lih-in W. Rezania, public health engineer, Drinking Water Protection Section, Environmental Health Division, St. Paul says this: "Fairmont's water intake goes out 250 feet into the Budd Lake and more than 20 feet below the surface; from visual examination, blue-green algae don't seem to be a problem. Besides, Fairmont water treatment plant uses strong oxidants like chlorine dioxide and chlorine; both have shown to be effective in destroying/removing the cyanotoxins ... Currently there is no requirement for the testing of cyanotoxins in drinking water and it may not be required for a long time unless USEPA sees the need to regulate with sufficient supporting data and cost benefit analysis."
If I understand what was said here, our water should not smell or taste bad since the water intake is 20 feet below the surface. Since our water does taste and smell bad, I think we are safe to assume we have cyanotoxins in our water. To what extent, we don't know.
Summary of cyanotoxin inactivation by oxidants
MicrocystinAnatoxin-a CYN Saxitoxin
*Has not been investigated
This table is from: Cyanotoxin Removal in Drinking Water Treatment Process and Recreational Waters, Judy Westrick, April 14, 2011, 2011 Northeast Regional Cyanobacteria Workshop, NEIWPCC
Note that chlorine and chlorine dioxide are not effective inactivation oxidants for Anatoxin-a.
You don't have to believe what Mr. Roehler or I have said about the issue. Just go to Google and search for blue green algae.
Please reference: "Is Fairmont's water safe?" July 30, 2012, and "Time to take a step back" Dec. 4, 2010, by Henry W. Roehler, retired USGS geologist.
Is it too late to switch to well water instead of using polluted, stagnant lake water?
Michael W. Lundgreen