Minor quake suspected as cause for boil order in water district

Nov. 3, 2000
Residents of Jefferson County Public Water District 12 were told on Monday to boil their tap water before using it. District manager Charles Mahue said that well No. 2 had to be shut down Monday when the water from it became extremely murky.

By Chris Carroll

Nov 02, 2000 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)—Residents of Jefferson County Public Water District 12 were told on Monday to boil their tap water before using it.

District manager Charles Mahue said that well No. 2 had to be shut down Monday when the water from it became extremely murky.

"It started putting out running lime, which is a real soft limestone that dissolves in water," he said.

Mahue says he suspects that a minor earthquake shook loose sediment that clouded the water.

The water district serves about 1,000 homes, businesses and other customers south of the Twin Cities area.

Like all Jefferson County water districts that use deep wells, mineral content in District 12 water is quite high, which can be tough on appliances but is not dangerous.

Mahue said he didn't believe that the murky water from the well was dangerous, but the district couldn't take chances.

The well was taken off the water lines to be flushed, he says.

Samples for testing were delivered to the Jefferson County Health Department.

Public Water District 12 may have a new source of water in several years, Mahue says.

There have been preliminary discussions with officials from Festus and Herculaneum about the possibility of purchasing water from a drinking-water cooperative, which voters in the two cities approved in April.

The cities plan to build a water-treatment plant near the Mississippi River.

That possible source of water could be years in the future, Mahue says.

Meanwhile, the district must continue to supply water to current customers and prepare for the construction of seven new subdivisions that developers are planning to build, he says.

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