Discolored water a concern at park
In early September, Rob Campbell, a volunteer at the Cacapon Resort State Park golf course and a frequent golfer, noticed the public water at the park was discolored.
As a volunteer ranger at the golf course, part of his job is to carry water around on a golf cart for golfers needing a drink or needing to replenish their water bottles.
Campbell, a former registered sanitarian, said the problem was intermittent and seemed to occur every 3 – 6 weeks.
He took two water samples, one on a day when the water was particularly cloudy and another the next day when the water had cleared a bit.
On September 10 he sent the samples along with a letter to the Bureau for Public Health, Environmental Chemical Lab in Charleston.
Copies of the letter went to the district Environmental Health Services office in Kearneysville and the Morgan County Health Department.
“I wanted to wake up the park to the problem,” Camp-bell said.
Environmental Engineer Alan Marchun at Kearneys-ville called Campbell and asked for a water sample for his office to analyze.
Campbell sent Marchun a water sample on October 1 and noted in the accompanying letter that you couldn’t see the bottom of the cup if it was filled at the tap.
Water not a health hazard
Campbell followed up with Charleston and was told the analysis wasn’t finished yet but there wasn’t any indication of a health hazard.
On October 3, Marchun sent the results of his completed analysis to Campbell along with recommendations to address the discoloration problem. He also talked by telephone to Assistant Park Superintendent David Pruitt.
The results showed there were 0.0 mg/L (milligrams per liter) of iron in the water sample, but 0.65 mg/L of manganese.
“These results confirm what was expected, that the result of the discolored water appears to be manganese,” Marchun wrote.
The letter states that “Man-ganese is a secondary contaminant and is not considered a health hazard, nor is it regulated by the State of West Virginia.”
The suggested maximum contaminant level for manganese is 0.05 mg/L and concentrations at that level or even lower can cause problems with discolored water, staining of laundry and plumbing fixtures, the letter said.
A survey conducted in January 2011 had shown treated water at the park to have a manganese level of 0.06 mg/L and iron at 0.59 mg/L.
Marchun said changes in system usage, such as a weekend with heavy usage or long periods with little usage, can cause the water to become discolored or turbid.
He recommended inspecting the storage tank interior on a routine basis and cleaning it if necessary and starting a regular program of flushing the water system.
“However, since these are only recommendations and no health hazard exists, the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health cannot force a water system to implement such measures,” Marchun wrote.
Park quick to take action
Pruitt told The Morgan Messenger on October 11 the park had already started to address the problem of discolored water.
“We changed out all the filter media at the treatment plant and will install a commercial inline filter at the lodge,” Pruitt said.
The filter media is the granular substance similar to sand that filters the water and removes contaminants.
Pruitt said the park will close down for two days in December when no one is staying at the park to drain and scrub the water storage tank.
Responding to the actions the park is taking to correct the problem, Campbell said, “That is everything I had hoped for.”