Marshfield moves towards water quality improvement by 2020

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MARSHFIELD, Mo. Like any small town, Marshfield is a proud community.

But one thing that's not exactly a source of pride is the town's water supply.

Marshfield's water source comes from three wells that feed into a trio of water towers in town and while the quality meets federal and state standards, city administrator John Benson admits that government officials agree with resident's complaints that something needs to be done to improve the water supply.

"We have at times some discoloration in our water and a few customers at times have an odor issue," he said.

City leaders started looking into concerns about a sulfur, rotten-egg kind of smell and the dirty discoloration six years ago but found no easy fix.

"We could build a water treatment plant that would cost tens-of-millions of dollars," Benson explained. "That's not a viable financial solution."

Instead they're addressing several other factors that will involve no extra cost to customers starting with replacing old pipes in the town's water mains.

"Last year we replaced about 2,000-ft. of water mains," Benson said. "This year we're gonna be replacing an additional 2,000-feet."

The city will also be replacing a one-pipe system that feeds water from the wells into the water tower.

"Right now we have what's called a one-pipe system," Benson said. "The water goes up into the tower in one pipe and just reverses when we need water. It pulls out of that same pipe. The older water, if it doesn't circulate, becomes stagnated and will change the taste of the water and so we're going to be installing a two-pipe system. One pipe will put water into the tower and the other will pull water out and so it will circulate the water."

With better circulation of the water within the towers and replacement of water main pipes, the city says the $5 million project, which is now fully-funded, will be completed in the next two years.

But the optimism comes with one caveat.

"The quality of the city water being provided to each property will be improved," Benson said. "Now they may still see some issues but some of those issues may be caused by their existing piping system within their business or home."

Benson points out that old pipes or water heaters in homes are not the city's responsibility but that they'll be glad to work with residents to try and solve their issues if the problems persist after the changes.

The project will also involved tearing down one of the three current water towers in the downtown area and replacing it with another tower in a different location.

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