Manganese levels back to normal in Newburgh

Submitted photo

Derek Miller of Newburgh took a photo of a bathtub in his home last week. He said the water issues continued well after the all clear was given from Indiana American Water.

Indiana American Water announced that manganese levels are back to normal in the town's drinking water after taking several measures to address discolored water in its Newburgh system over the last two weeks.

The discoloration was caused by slightly higher than normal levels of manganese, a naturally occurring mineral present in the area's groundwater sources.

Although manganese does not pose any risks to human health, it is noticeable at very low levels and can stain laundry if discolored water is used.

According to Newburgh Superintendent Roger Johnson, "We are happy to report that we have been able to reduce manganese levels through a number of measures and selected flushing of our distribution system in areas that were affected."

However, Newburgh residents aren't all the way out of the woods yet.

Resident Derek Miller said his water remained discolored into this week. He said his family also consists of two young children and the family would have to run hundreds of gallons of water to get the water to a point where the children could take a bath.

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"We were also told to not wash clothes because it could stain them," Miller said. "We went about a week without doing laundry."

Johnson said some customers have continued to see problems despite the all clear. He said customers are being advised to flush their systems by running cold water faucets and to check the back of their toilet tanks for sediment backup.

"Although the water we are sending out from our treatment facilities has cleared up, there may still be some sediment in customers' plumbing systems that will need to be flushed out," Johnson continued.

Miller said the problem hasn't been as easily solved and has resulted in costs including replacement of filters in his refrigerator and in his water heater. He also said he has worked to flush out his system to no avail and has filed a claim with the company.

"They never gave us any warning," he said noting that it wasn't until local media picked up the story. "That was when they told us it was safe to use and drink, yeah right, but not to wash clothes in it."

Miller said his family is currently forced to bypass their filtration causing them to deal with hard water. He said his filter mean to last two years only lasted two weeks in his new home.

"Almost everyone on my street has been here six months or less and their filters are damaged, too," he said.

Customers who have questions about discolored water may call the Indiana American Water Customer Service Center at 1-800-492-8373.

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