Ramsey Conducting Feasibility Study of Water Treatment Plant

Back in 2019, the City of Ramsey detected manganese, an unregulated contaminant, in higher than recommended levels during routine water testing in some of the City wells. Since then, the City has been closely monitoring its water system for manganese and has reduced overall manganese levels by utilizing the City wells with the lowest levels of manganese. Until recently, the City has been able to keep manganese levels below the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) guidance value using this method*.

As the weather has warmed, City water usage has increased, forcing the City to add water from wells with higher levels of manganese. Therefore, City water system customers may experience higher levels of manganese in their drinking water. Two samples from the City water system had levels of manganese above the MDH guidance value for bottle-fed infants in July 2020. The Minnesota Department of Health recommends that bottle-fed infants not consume water with manganese at levels above 100 ppb (parts per billion). The two samples tested at 108 ppb and 131 ppb. Learn more about manganese in drinking water here. You can monitor monthly manganese levels on the City of Ramsey’s website here.

To reduce levels of iron, manganese, and other contaminants in the City’s water system, the City of Ramsey has determined that, of the long-term options available, only a water treatment plant can ensure these contaminants are effectively removed. Therefore, the City is preparing a feasibility study to investigate the City’s source water chemistry and sustainability, alternative treatment processes, alternative treatment plant sites, estimated costs, and preliminary construction schedules. The study is expected to be completed by the fall of 2020, after which the City Council will decide whether or not to move forward with the construction of a water treatment plant.

In the meantime, residents may choose to use home water treatment units such as refrigerators with water filters, pour-through pitchers, units that attach to faucets, and water softeners to try to remove or reduce particular contaminants in their drinking water. See the Minnesota Department of Health’s “Home Water Treatment” for more information.

Manganese can also be present in varying levels in private wells, so private well owners are encouraged to test their wells for manganese. Residents can usually have this done through the Anoka County Well Water Testing program, however, due to COVID-19, the program is limited to bacteria and nitrates testing only. In the meantime, residents may utilize a private, state-certified water testing laboratory to test their well water for manganese. Check back for updates as to when Anoka County will resume full testing capacity.

*The City of Ramsey noted in their article in the September/October 2020 issue of the Ramsey Resident that a side effect of the City using the wells with the lowest levels of manganese is that the water system has more iron in it. This can result in greater discoloration of clothes, sidewalks, and buildings, however, there are currently no health concerns associated with high iron concentrations.

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