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Green Meadows Customers Update

2/27/2019

Dear Customer,

On President’s Day, February 18, 2019, the automated iron and manganese filtration system serving the Green Meadows community experienced a failure, resulting in the pink discoloration of the water provided to the community.  It is important to note at the very beginning, that while the water was aesthetically displeasing, it was safe to drink.  Your health and safety were not placed at risk at any time.

The contracted after-hours answering service did not relay customers calls to FCWSA on-call staff until 8:00 AM on Tuesday, at which time FCWSA operations staff responded, discovered a malfunction of the water treatment facility’s iron and manganese removal system, and began flushing the system. 

The pink discoloration was due to the presence of potassium permanganate in the finished water.  Constructed by the subdivision’s developer in 2002, the treatment system serving Green Meadows uses potassium permanganate in an automated system to voluntarily remove iron and manganese for improved taste and appearance. 

The automated system relies on periodic recharge of potassium permanganate to maintain removal efficiency.  Ordinarily, extra permanganate is drained, but a malfunction of the automated system resulted in the system retaining extra permanganate, which entered the storage tank and the distribution system.

Annual maintenance on the system was completed in January without issue.  As part of our oversight of our system, our staff had been on site on the day of the failure and it had not yet occurred.  FCWSA’s contracted service company has investigated the failure and we have determined that resuming normal operation will require, at the very least, significant repair of the automated system. 

Without the iron and manganese filtration system, your water would likely be discolored.  While the discolored water would be safe to drink and use, FCWSA immediately acknowledged it would not be aesthetically pleasing until the repair could be completed.

We found the delivery of discolored water to your homes for a considerable period of time to be unacceptable.  That is why we are hauling treated drinking water from our Bealeton system to the Green Meadows storage tank until repairs can be made. 

All aspects of the incident are under review, including the delay in notification by our contracted answering service.  Because we are delivering water from our Bealeton system, FCWSA is taking the opportunity to review both short and long-term solutions to the failure, including moving away from the automated system entirely or implementing one that allows more manual control and uses parts that are more readily available.

Although FCWSA has flushed the system, there is the remote possibility that discolored water may remain in your home’s plumbing.  If you are experiencing discolored water, we advise you to run your tap until the discoloration clears and to contact FCWSA Customer Service at (540) 349-2092 or by email at administration@fcwsa.org

We promise to keep you regularly updated about our progress.  I have spoken with the homeowners association representative for Green Meadows about setting up a meeting in the community; it will likely be held in March.  In the meantime, we apologize for any inconvenience the failure may have caused.

 

Sincerely,

Benjamin Shoemaker

Executive Director

Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority