More to Wayne’s failed nitrate tests

Tuesday morning the City of Wayne announced, in accordance with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Regulations Governing Public Water Supply Systems, that the  City Of Wayne public water supply system was is in violation of the established nitrate drinking water standard of 10 milligrams per liter. Nitrate had been measured at an average concentration of 12 milligrams per liter in two samples collected from the system on Nov. 13, 2018 and Nov. 26, 2018.

While the water tested above acceptable nitrate levels, Wayne’s drinking water wasn’t affected. According to City Administrator Wes Blecke, the wells that tested high never directly enter Wayne’s water supply.

“We knew Wells 6 and 7 (the wells that tested high) are high, but we don’t use them directly. Those wells are blended with the wells we do use, which dilutes the nitrate level making it safe to drink,” Blecke said.

State regulations require all wells that add to the water supply be tested, even those that aren’t main wells. The failed test on Nov. 13 meant that there would have to be a secondary test. A miscommunication regarding the second test triggered the DHHS-outlined response.

“We thought there was a rule that said we had to test at the site of the well that tested high, it turns out we could have tested at the point of entry (where the well gets diluted) and it would have been fine,” Blecke said.

Blecke said there’s no physical way for water from the nitrate-high wells to make it into the water supply without being diluted to safe levels, but two failed tests require Nebraska communities to release the statement the City released Tuesday morning.

“There is no access point so you physically can’t drink that water without it being blended,” Blecke said.

It also required a handful of City employees to go door to door in Wayne passing out the notice and required the City to provide drinking water, despite the water supply actually being safe to drink.

Because State offices will be closed Wednesday for a national day of mourning for former president George H.W. Bush, the City rushed a sample to Lincoln Tuesday. By late afternoon, preliminary tests showed that the City’s water tested at 6.6 milligrams per liter, under the limit of 10 milligrams per liter limit. Final results will be released by the end of the week.

For questions or concerns, contact Jeff Brady, Water Supervisor, at (402) 375-5250 or (402) 375-9129; or Wes Blecke, City Administrator, at (402) 375-1733.

The Wayne Herald

Mailing Address:
114 Main Street
Wayne, NE 68787
Phone: 402-375-2600

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