City continues to defend drinking water; additional tests being completed

David Kent, director of utilities
Posted: Dec. 6, 2012 11:28 am Updated: Dec. 20, 2012 2:23 pm

By MATT HOPFHerald-Whig Staff Writer

The city of Quincy has been battling an unappealing smell and taste of its water for nearly two weeks, and it had to deal Wednesday with an unfounded Facebook rumor questioning the safety of the water.

A posting on Facebook by a Quincy woman claimed a child had become severely ill from the drinking the city's water and had been taken to Children's Hospital in St. Louis.

But Utilities Director David Kent said the city has not been contacted by any agencies about an illness caused by the water.

"(There has been) no contact from hospitals, no contact from any physicians -- either local or out-of-state -- no contact from Children's Hospital in St. Louis, no contact with the Adams County Health Department, no contact with Blessing Hospital," Kent said.

The current low stage and slow movement of the Mississippi River is causing an increase in brown algae entering the city's water system. The algae problem is being addressed by adding powdered activated carbon to dissipate the bad taste and smell. However, it has yet to subside.

"We know the type of organism that we are dealing with," Kent said. "We're going to send samples to a private testing laboratory to verify what kind of concentrations of (algae are) in the water, which will give us a better handle of what concentrations of carbon we need to remove it."

City officials maintain that the water is safe to drink.

"If we're really putting something bad out in the water that's compromising people's health, we're going to have more than one person ... we're going to have numerous people that are going to be sick," Kent said. "I can guarantee you that the wrath of God would come down on the city if we were in that situation."