Despite Water Concerns, Belle Plaine Mayor Said Water Is "100% Safe"

BELLE PLAINE, Iowa - Seeking to dispel any rumors or chatter about the city's water supply, Belle Plaine Mayor Dave Fish was very clear on Friday about whether the water is safe to use.

"Let me say, just plainly and up front, Belle Plaine water is safe to use in any capacity, whether it's drinking, showering and laundry," said Fish. "The DNR issued a report today after testing that said our water is 100% safe and that it's fine to use in any way, shape or form and they also applauded our water department."

In his monthly letter to Belle Plaine residents, Fish wrote said, on February 23, the city had to turn on "Well 6", an Artesian well on the city's northern edge. This was done because of the recent water main breaks and well problems with the city's five shallow wells.

"We did get some Facebook reaction this week, through whatever source, that our water was contaminated," said Fish before citing the DNR report that the water was clean.

The past two summers have been especially difficult on the city's water supply, the mayor said, citing dry weather that still has an effect.

"Last spring was very wet, the month of June was very wet and our wells were covered very nicely but, after July 1, the water shut off and we didn't get any rain," said Fish. "Lack of rain on a long-term basis has caused our five shallow wells to suffer problems."

This can be quite noticeable, with vocal reaction, in some pockets of town. At a nearby cafe, a server showed us what a pitcher full of hot tap water appears like, with a slightly darker hue than most pitchers of water.

"If they're from here, they really don't want water because they know it's the Artesian water and they know it's bitter and harsh," said Mariah Little, who said she has lived in Belle Plaine for three years.

What is the next step?

The mayor said, in 1989, the city looked into a water treatment facility and, at the time, the cost was $551,800.

"Three times over the course of the last 30 years, the council has looked at a water treatment facility and, three times, the council has said 'too costly'," said Fish. "This council will have to do the same thing if Well 6 would have to become a permanent part of our water supply. We'd have to take a very strong look at a water treatment plant."
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