City of Exeter’s May warning regarding nitrates in drinking water remains in effect as alternative wells undergo repair
EXETER – Several weeks after issuing a nitrate warning for groundwater, the city of Exeter is still coming up dry on solutions.
With their only alternative well undergoing repairs and tests, Exeter has kept well 6 – the well testing at 11 parts per million (ppm) for nitrates – in production. Municipal wells are allowed to test up to 10 ppm for nitrates according to state mandates. At 11 ppm cities are required to issue notices that the water could be dangerous for infants and women who are pregnant.
Well 9, the closest viable alternative to well 6, is out of service until its post-repair testing is complete. The city has been working toward rehabilitating that well in preparation for summer time demand. But bacteriological testing must be completed before they turn it back on.
Exeter City Manager Adam Ennis said he has struggled to schedule repairs, which has led to delays. In the meantime the city has attempted to use water from well 6 as infrequently as possible, while still meeting demand.
“The system starts different wells as needed,” said Ennis. “Well 6 only comes on if all the other wells are already producing at their maximum.”
The city expects well 9 to be back in production soon, after which they will be able to stop using well 6. Until then, the drinking water warning is still in effect. “We’ve minimized any issues with the nitrates,” said Ennis, “but it’s required by the state that we put out a notice if it tests over the limit.” As soon as the water is safe to drink, the city will make another announcement.