Village of Bruce residents remain without drinking water

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 9:49 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Officials in the Village of Bruce are working to find a solution after warning residents not to drink tap water due to high levels of manganese found in the water system.

“Bruce took some samples of their water and had them analyzed and found the manganese level was high, above a level we consider safe to be drinking,” says Steven Elmore, Director of Drinking Water and Ground Water at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “Manganese is a naturally occurring element. It is in the rocks underground where we get the water from but unfortunately it is not safe to drink at high levels.”

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says high levels of manganese can impact the nervous system and lead to other health concerns. It is especially dangerous for people younger than six months and older than 50.

“Our residents need safe drinking water and it needs to happen as soon as possible,” says Village of Bruce board member Avery Newman. “Many of the citizens are saying they pay for their water, now they can’t drink it and they are not happy.”

The water can still be used for washing, doing laundry and dishes.

A pallet of donated water is on its way to Bruce this week from Premium Waters in Chippewa Falls and residents are recommended to stock up on bottled water.

Elmore says resolving the issue in the village’s wells could take time.

“The most important first step is for people to be aware that there is manganese and to stop using the water for drinking. We will be working with the water system to take actions like taking a well offline maybe adding treatment to the well,” he says. “If they need to drill a new well for example that will take some time. Hopefully we come up with a short term solution while we work on a long term solution.”

The Bruce Village Board’s Utility Committee plans to meet Thursday, December 10 at 5:00 p.m. at the Village Hall to discuss the concern and options for residents.

For more information on manganese in drinking water, click here.

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