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Mistaken chemicals result in boil order

| June 29, 2005 12:00 AM

A boil order for Libby city water users went into effect following a malfunction at the water treatment plant Thursday night.

The order remained in effect on Monday pending testing by the state but was expected to be lifted on Tuesday, said Mayor Tony Berget.

The treatment system at the water plant ran out of chemicals Thursday night, and workers discovered that the replacement chemicals in storage were the wrong kind, Berget said. The chemicals had apparently been sent to the plant by mistake, he said.

"It's all sitting there," Berget said. "It's the same color. It looked the same."

The situation resulted in "a quick dump of raw water" into the system before treated water in storage could be released, Berget said. Subsequent testing for residual chlorine showed levels just slightly below the required amount, Berget said.

The necessary chemicals have since been obtained and the plant is back online, Berget said. He said he expects the boil order to be lifted as soon as official tests by the state confirm the safety of the water. Until then, water users are advised to boil drinking water for three minutes prior to consumption.