Water Quality Protection: Pocatello

The Pocatello Water Department is committed to providing you with the safest and most reliable water supply...guaranteed, and all for a fraction more than a penny for ten gallons!

Last year the Department conducted close to 4,000 tests for more than 100 contaminants in your drinking water and those not listed on the Water Quality Table were not found in the treated water supply. In addition to tests mandated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Pocatello Water Department also tests for other substances and microscopic organisms found in water for which no standards have been set. We take the initiative to watch for things that have concerned people in our area, even though we are not required to do so. We are proactive in protecting our community, and we will notify you immediately of any waterborne health threat.

Pocatello maintains 19 wells strategically placed throughout the city, and the pending wellhead protection program will restrict activities around the wells that could contaminate the water. Some area wells have been closed, and taken out of service because of the presence of trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in excess of Federal MCLs (click here for more information). The source of this contamination has not yet been definitively determined.

In 1997, with the assistance of federal grant monies, the city completed a wetland detention basin on South 1st Avenue near the Street Department shop. The wetland basin was designed to keep storm water from collecting and potentially contaminating one of the city wells, which is located nearby.

In 1999, in an effort to protect the aquifer from further contamination, the Pocatello Water Department purchased 87 acres located near the Highway Pond south of Pocatello. This acreage was being mined for gravel and posed a threat to our aquifer but will now be used for recreational or environmental management.

Disinfection of the water supply is accomplished by the use of chlorine. Water entering the distribution system is treated with approximately 0.3 ppm of chlorine in order to maintain a free chlorine residual of 0.2 ppm as required by the State of Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The free chlorine residual continues to disinfect the water in the distribution system. Sixty samples are tested monthly for microbial organisms to ensure that the quality of our water is preserved. While you may have noticed boil orders from time-to-time for surrounding communities, the City of Pocatello is pleased to report that we have not tested positive for any of these organisms.

Another measure we take to keep our water safe to drink once in enters our water distribution system is to flush all our fire hydrants semi-annually, especially the ones on dead end lines. This flushes out water that may not have circulated because of low usage. It also helps eliminate the accumulation of particles (minerals, etc.) that settle onto the bottom of the pipes. When flushing fire hydrants, the high rate of flow stirs up the system and can cause water to have a dirty appearance which typically clears up after a short period of time. In addition to discharging the excessive particles, it also allows us to exercise the hydrants and ensure that they are operable.

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