Rice Lake Utilities is considering the replacement of a problematic well in the city, according to Utilities staff.
The new well could be located near the water tower on Hilltop Drive, said general manager Scott Reimer.
Well 6, which could be operational late this year if water quality tests are favorable, would replace Well 4 in Narrows Park.
“We’re getting increasingly high manganese levels in that well,” said Reimer, adding that the mineral is naturally occurring in the aquifer.
Levels of manganese in Well 4 have tested at 280-350 micrograms per liter. Last year the United States Environmental Protection Agency set a lifetime health advisory for manganese levels of 300 micrograms per liter, meaning the public is safe consuming water up to that concentration over a lifetime.
The main concern with manganese is aesthetic. It is known to leave black or rust-colored residue on clothes, dishes and water fixtures when the concentration exceeds 50 micrograms per liter…
The other element of interest in the city water supply lately has been fluoride.
For months, the Utilities Commission has considered ending the addition of fluoride to the city’s water as several citizens have voiced strong opinions both for and against fluoridation.
Fluoride is proven to strengthen tooth enamel, but those opposed have said they don’t want to be forced to consume fluoride, citing fears that it can cause health problems.
Reimer said commission action on fluoridation won’t come until May at the earliest, but public comment will continue to be considered in the meantime.
Reimer, who is not a member of the commission, is opposed to fluoridation.
“I think the practice has outgrown its usefulness,” he said.
Rice Lake started fluoridated in 1952 when there weren’t as many options for dental care.
Reimer said that now people take better care of their teeth and also get fluoride through many foods and beverages.
“You’re never going to be fluoride deficient in this world,” said Reimer, adding that he does not think people who don’t want fluoride in the water should be ignored.