Iron bacteria detected in water from Minden apartments
October 14, 2011
Some water from the Mahogany Court Apartments in Minden has tested positive for iron bacteria and will be cleaned out soon in a disinfecting process, according to Minden Town officials and the property manager.
Residents of the new affordable housing complex, which was built on the edge of the Westwood subdivision last year, have been complaining of a strong and foul “rotten egg” odor in their tap water, which motivated Minden Public Works to test water not only in the apartments, but in surrounding properties.
According to an Oct. 13 press release, town officials took a set of three samples at six locations within or near the apartments. Of the six locations, three were within the complex, one was a hose bib on the outside of the west apartment building, one was a residence to the west of the entire complex, and one was a church across the street.
The three samples taken at each site allowed for a lab to test for the following items: hydrogen sulfide, the primary suspect in complaints regarding odors in water; iron bacteria, which can produce hydrogen sulfide as bacteria decomposes; and sulfide bacteria, which also can produce hydrogen sulfide.
According to town officials, the six samples taken for hydrogen sulfide were all non-detect. The six samples taken for sulfide bacteria were all non-detect as well. But two of the six samples tested for iron bacteria were positive, while the remaining four samples were non-detect.
The two positive samples came from two of the three apartments tested within the complex.
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“Based on the lack of bacteria or hydrogen sulfide appearing outside the complex and the presence of the iron bacteria within the complex, it would appear that the issue of odors is being caused by bacteria within the complex itself and not coming from the Town’s water system,” Minden officials stated in the press release. “Therefore, the bacteria within the complex may be due to the plumbing not being disinfected after the initial construction and prior to the buildings within the complex being occupied. The Douglas County Building Department does not require new buildings to be disinfected prior to occupancy.
“The Town of Minden recommends that the building’s owner disinfect the building’s internal plumbing. This should mitigate the problem. The Town’s position is that the Town’s water is safe, and the odor problem appears to be within the referenced apartment complex. However, the Town also understands that this is a difficult problem to deal with, and therefore the Town is available to provide technical assistance should the owner desire it.”
In a statement Friday, Weststates Property Management, which manages the complex, said the company is implementing the town’s recommendations of flushing and disinfecting the entire system.
“We are coordinating with our plumbing contractor, and the Town of Minden, who has offered continual assistance in this matter, and will complete this as soon as possible,” said Missi Pollender, Weststates vice president and director of compliance.
Further questions should be directed to the Minden Public Works Superintendent at 783-8328.