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ANAMOSA – DNR lifted the bottled water advisory for Anamosa at 6 p.m. Monday after Viking Chemical Company’s toxicologist identified an unknown chemical that entered the water on Friday night.
Onsite in Anamosa Monday afternoon, Viking Chemical’s toxicologist examined the look, feel and smell of the chemical before identifying it as triethanolamine, used mostly in the cosmetic and drug industries. Triethanolamine is not hazardous at the volume that entered the water treatment system.
The chemical’s manufacturer confirmed that the chemical is safe at those levels.
The mistake apparently is due to a labeling and packaging error at Viking’s distribution plant.
“The city is continuing to flush out the water system, replacing all water by sometime Tuesday morning,” said Amber Sauser, environmental specialist at the DNR’s Manchester field office. “We should also have laboratory test results back later this week.
The city; a contractor from Water Solutions Unlimited, a company that works with the city’s water supply; and Viking Chemical company out of Rockford, Ill., who supplied the chemicals, sent samples to separate laboratories for testing after the city discovered Monday morning that an unknown chemical had entered the water supply.
While mixing treatment chemicals Friday afternoon, a city contractor noticed the chemicals looked different and shut down the pump. However, an automated system at the plant resumed pumping later that night allowing triethanoloamine to enter the drinking water system.
Between one and three gallons of the chemical was mixed into a dilute solution, which mixed into the city’s water storage of about 750,000 gallons.
The city and DNR will continue to investigate.