At its City Council meeting Thursday, the city of St. Cloud gave an update to its efforts to clean up residents’ drinking water, and how it’s extending a contract with the company doing the “ice-pigging” operations in water lines.
The city made an amendment to add seven days to a current contract for operations, which include pushing an ice floe through the lines designed to remove resin sediment that turned some homes’ water an orange tint.
At the end of that week, city interim Director of Utilities Brian Wheeler said the company would have a second truck available to double up the ice pigging through the end of April. This would add $500,000, and up to $600,000, to the contract. But Wheeler also noted that the company has to move on to its next contract work out in Canada after April, leaving about a third of the lines not done. Wheeler said unidirectional flushing, with two-thirds of lines cleaned, would push clean water through the remaining lines to complete the cleaning process. Council member Chuck Cooper asked city officials to look into the cost of providing residents with household water line filters.
“It’s a fix to get us under the radar,” he said. “I don’t want a band-aid fix.” City Manager Bill Sturgeon said the city is doing follow-up surveys in neighborhoods already pigged about the water quality following the process, and that the city has contracted with UCF Environmental Science field testers to take discreet water samples to check if resin is still in the water. Wheeler also noted he’s had discussions with members of state Rep. Mike La Rosa and Congressman Darren
Soto’s offices to get higher-level help if needed; Mayor Nathan Blackwell noted Soto sits on the Environmental Protection Agency committee and would do what he can to help. “Our federal lobbyists are also working on our behalf in this situation,” Blackwell said. Wheeler also affirmed he drinks fountain water, but bottled water, at City Hall.
“I’m in the water business, I drink the water I produce,” Wheeler said.