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Water worries seen in Fredonia report

The village of Fredonia released a water quality report for 2023 on its website Tuesday.

The report assures residents their water is safe — but also details two boil water orders and a series of violations found by health authorities.

The Feb. 26, 2023, boil order happened due to “an equipment failure at the water treatment plant (that) led to water that was not adequately disinfected entering the distribution system.” The order from June 7, 2023, came after “inspection of the clearwell stirred up sediment, which led to water with elevated levels of turbidity entering the distribution system.”

The report notes that “In September of 2023, we failed to complete the full number of bacteria samples required by the state, and therefore cannot be sure of the quality of your water regarding coliform bacteria during that time. This does not pose a threat to the quality of our water supply.”

The report makes a similar statement about failure to complete organic carbon monitoring in February 2023.

It goes on to detail the violations found in May 2023, among these were:

— An inoperable backwash pump. “If the other pump were to fail, operators report that the plant could produce water for a maximum of four days before the village would be unable to make potable water.”

— Only one working chlorinator.

— Unsafe handling of bentonite clay and storage of liquid chemicals.

“Labels, color coding, and arrows are missing from the majority of the piping in the plant.”

The Chautauqua County Health Department stepped in after the May 2023 violations were reported, demanding changes at the water plant to fix them. Village officials have said the violations were addressed or are swiftly getting handled.

Fredonia’s report lists detected contaminants in its water system. None garnered violations except for the turbidity that caused the June 7 boil order, and another turbidity event in November 2023.

According to the report, the Fredonia water system serves 10,700 customers through 3,200 service connections. It produced 483 million gallons of water in 2022.

Of that, only 122 million gallons was billed. “The balance or unaccounted water was used for firefighting, hydrant use, distribution system leaks, and reactor solids removal at the water plant.”

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