Friday, February 22, 2008

Air Pollution Advisory: Minnesota

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air pollution health advisory for the southern two-thirds of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro area.

The MPCA says fine particles are near an unhealthy level for sensitive groups in the Rochester area. Levels are lower but approaching unhealthy for sensitive groups in the rest of the southern half of the state, including the Twin Cities.

Sensitive groups include people with heart or lung disease, children and athletes.

The advisory is in effect through Monday. The MPCA says air quality is expected to improve as weather conditions bring winds early next week.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Water Warning: Possible Water Contamination in Southern Missouri

Southern Missouri residents need to take precautions with their drinking water because it may have been affected by electrical power disruptions caused by the latest winter ice storm, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is warning.

Due to the severe winter weather in the southern half of the state over the past few days, some public water systems have experienced low water pressure and, in some instances, complete water outages, the department explains in a news release.

The cause may be loss of power to pump water to people's homes or water lines breaking due to the extremely cold weather. Low pressure and broken lines allow contaminants to enter drinking water, so people in these situations need to consider boiling their drinking water.

While loss of pressure does not necessarily mean the water has been contaminated, it does mean there is the potential that contamination inside houses, businesses and factories could flow backward into the water system and be carried to customers. The normal pressure of the water supply system would prevent this contamination.

Boil Water Procedures

� Boil water vigorously for three minutes prior to use. Use only boiled water for drinking, brushing teeth, diluting fruit juices and all other food preparation or consumption. Use of bottled water may be a feasible, though relatively expensive, alternative to boiling tap water when under a boil water order.

� Do not use ice from a household automatic icemaker or use any ice made with un-boiled water from this system. Make ice cubes with water that has been boiled or purchase ice.

� Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces by immersing for at least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.

�Allow water to cool sufficiently before drinking.Water used for hand washing or bathing does not generally need to be boiled. Supervision of children is necessary while bathing to ensure they do not ingest water.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Water Warning: Contaminated Water in Fort Meyers, Florida

A boil water notice is in effect for the area of Fort Myers bordered by Maravilla Avenue on the south, Braman Avenue on the north, Nelson Street on the east and Cortez Avenue on the west until at least 1:30 p.m. today.

Routine sampling of the city of Fort Myers water system identified total coliform and the E. coli bacteria in a customer’s water sampled Friday at 1810 Passaic Ave.; the finding was confirmed Saturday at 1820 Passaic Ave.

These bacteria can make you sick and are a particular concern for people with weakened immune systems. Do not drink the water before boiling it first. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute and let it cool before using or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.

Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly and people with severely compromised immune systems. The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice. People at increased risk should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.

City of Fort Myers staff is working with the Health Department to determine the source of the contamination. City staff will be conducting system flushing in the affected area. Resampling for bacteria also will be conducted until the source is found.

For more information, call the city at 332-6700.

Water Warning: Contaminated Water in Kingman, Arizona

The City of Kingman is advising all residents to not give tap water to infants under 6 months old after high nitrate levels were detected in the water supply.

City officials released a statement saying that on Feb. 1st of 2008 water samples showed nitrate levels of 18.2mg/l, which is abovet the standard or maximum contaminant level of 10mg/l. A confirmation sample taken on Feb. 4th, 2008 showed nitrate levels of 4.5mg/l, which has been the average over the past 10 years. Hi nitrate levels can come from natural, industrial, or agricultural sources.

The press release says infants are at high risk of becoming ill if they drink water with high nitrate levels. Symptoms include shortness of breathe and 'blue baby' syndrome. Without treatment the illness could lead to death. Water, juice, and formula for infants should not be prepared with tap water. Use bottled water or water with low nitrate levels. Do not boil or filter the water, since these methods do not affect the nitrate level. In fact, boiling could make nitrate levels higher.

The city release also says adults and children older than 6 months can drink the tap water, but pregnant women or those with specific health concerns may want to consult a dooctor first.
The City of Kingman says the well that was found contaminated serves the downtown area and has been shut down. They will flush the well and continue to check the niutrate levels until they return to acceptable levels.

The city expects the problem to only last a few days.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Air Quality Warning: Minneapolis, Minnesota - February 2008

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is warning about poor air quality in the southern half of Minnesota through Wednesday.

The MPCA says air monitors in Rochester indicate that fine particles are at an unhealthy level for some sensitive groups.The agency says the levels in the Twin Cities and Marshall are lower, but approaching unhealthy levels for those groups.

The agency says sensitive groups include people with heart or lung disease, children and athletes.The agency recommends that people in the southern half of the state postpone or reduce vigorous activity that would draw the fine particles deep into the lungs.

The weather forecast calls for more winds on Wednesday, which should improve the air quality in the effected areas.