Water quality issue forces shut-down of two Albion city wells

City of Albion Water Department has discovered high levels of selenium, an EPA-monitored contaminant, being pumped from all three of their wells. Therefore, two of the three city wells were shut down Thursday, April 2, 2009.

In compliance with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations governing public water systems, the public is being notified that Albion’s water system was in violation of the established drinking water standard for selenium for the quarterly period of Jan. 1, 2009 to March 31, 2009.

The standard MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level) for selenium is 0.05 milligrams per liter (mg/L). The two Albion wells shut down Thursday tested from .19 to .28 miligrams per liter on the two test dates in March.

Selenium is an essential nutrient, However, some people who drink water containing selenium in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) over many years could experience hair or fingernail losses, numbness in fingers and toes, or problems with their circulation.

City wells #1 and #2 have been identified as having the highest amounts of the contaminant and have been taken off line as a result of the discovery. Well #3 has been detected to have lower levels of selenium and is still running to provide the community with water. The City’s water is not considered an immediate health risk to healthy adults, but may be a health risk to children under 14 and others with health concerns. If you have health concerns, contact your doctor. The City of Albion has identified Albion Thriftyway as a source on the City Water System that can provide filtered drinking water at market rates should you desire to drink filtered water until a long-term solution is achieved by the City.

The city is currently developing a new well that will tap into a different water source as the long-term solution to this water quality issue. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is currently considering the potential well site near the water tower for approval. The city anticipates having test wells completed within 60 days and a new well online this summer. The city will continue to monitor the current water supply on a monthly basis and communicate the results with the public.

Albion residents can contact the City of Albion Water Department at 402-395-2803 if they have specific questions regarding this water quality issue.

Albion residents are asked to share this information with all other people who drink city water who may not have received this notice directly (people in apartments, nursing homes, schools and businesses).