Water Quality and Testing Results
EPA Drinking Water Management Best Practices
Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Information

Jim Uhlir, Director
Safety & Risk Management
University of Wisconsin-Stout
uhlirj@uwstout.edu
(715) 232-2188

Jarvis Hall Air Scour Assessment - August 29, 2017
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Jarvis Water Quality Treatment Plan
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Jarvis Science Complex Water Assessment - August 8, 2017

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Jarvis Science Complex Water Assessment - July 31, 2017

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Jarvis Hall Water Assessment - April 14, 2017

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Water Quality Investigations, LLC - Conclusions and Recommendations - August 15, 2016

It appears that the four chemical treatments of the Price Commons water system were effective at reducing biofilm. Of the locations tested, it appears that treatment of Room 208 cold water supply was the most effective, with fluorescent indicators suggesting that biofilm at this location was the cause for previous high lead results. Biofilm was not completely removed from the hot water tanks, the juice and soda line, and the hot water system in general. Air scour flushing after the fourth treatment may have helped remove remnant chlorine demanding debris and biofilm in the system, which will be assessed in future sampling.

It appears that biofilm removal in the water system will reduce the pH and result in a specific conductance of about 380 uS/cm, which is indicative of good water quality if a chlorine residual is maintained and biofilm is kept under control. Online treatment of the water system in Price Commons is important for maintaining water quality and further removal of biofilm. Treatment should start at a dose of 0.5 mg/L chlorine and 2 mg/L Clearitas. Chlorine residual should be checked at far reaches of the plumbing system weekly and adjusted as necessary to maintain at least 0.3 mg/L residual throughout the system.

Preventative maintenance of the softeners and hot water tanks is critical for control of biofilm and maintaining optimal water quality in the building water system. An online treatment system for the softeners using Crystal Clean should be installed to provide for continuous cleaning and biofilm removal of the softener during regeneration. Softeners should be disinfected monthly by adding of 1/4 cup of bleach for every cubic feet of resin into the brine tank prior to a regeneration. Replacement of the softeners to minimize/eliminate long periods of stagnation may help maintain optimal water quality in the building.


August 15, 2016 Update

We wanted to provide the UW-Stout community an update on water quality activities that were undertaken this summer.

The following buildings had continuing water sampling by our water consultant SEH in late spring into summer: Administration Building, Heritage Hall, MSC, Merle Price Commons (MPC), North Point Dining (NPD) and Red Cedar Hall (RCH). Of these buildings Heritage and MPC had lead levels near action levels. To correct the situation, Physical Plant will install new Elkay bottle-fill fountains with water sentry filters that remove lead in those two buildings. Building supervisors of Heritage and MPC are aware that we have taken the unfiltered water fountains offline and directed people to existing bottle-fill fountains with filters. 

In July, water samples in Harvey Hall, the Heritage Hall Toddler Lab room 165, MSC and Student Health Services were under lead action levels.

Price Commons' water also will be treated with chemicals to remove biofilm, or micro-organisms from the water, that our consultant hopes will tell us more about lead leaching in the water. If that goes well, the procedure will be used at the MSC, North Point Dining and Red Cedar Hall, buildings that had lead issues that have been resovled, but which still have pipe leaks due to biofilm issues. The consultants advised that our water from the city may need more disinfection to meet our needs. The chemical dosing project was started at Price Commons on Aug. 5, and was accompanied by flushing through Aug,12. SEH will conduct follow-up testing in a week or two to help determine the effectiveness of the project.


March 2016 Update

Over the past several months, the Administrative and Student Life Services Division has authorized a series of tests on the campus water quality to identify lead levels in our water. In February and March, we conducted a series of tests that identified a couple of water sources that exceeded the EPA recommended level of 20 parts per billion. Those water sources are not used as drinking water. The test results from the third round of tests have recently been completed and are posted on this website under Water Quality and Testing Results.

It is important to note that our private water consultant is using a strategy to select the sites tested. The consultant was hired in an effort to explain pipe leaks we have in newer buildings. The pipe leaks may be caused by microbes in the water that leach metal from our pipes. The tests revealed some high levels and we are attempting to isolate areas within buildings to identify the root causes. 

One building that had test results in the most recent round higher than 20 ppb was the Merle Price Commons. Previously, our kitchen taps tested less than 5 ppb on multiple occasions, while isolated areas of the building tested at 22 ppb and 37 ppb. To identify the cause, water coming into the building was tested, but that building entry point was later identified to be a dead-end pipe. The stagnant water from that pipe tested at 290 ppb. We have identified a better entry point source and will retesting the water coming into the Commons. However, we have taken some precautionary measures in the building and are identifying water filtration systems for the facility. However, it is critical to understand that on multiple occasions, the MPC kitchen taps have all tested below 5 parts per billion. We also have filtered drinking stations in the building that are safe to use. 

In this latest round of tests, the drinking foundation on Heritage fourth floor, which had previously tested at 7 ppb, tested at 490 ppb. We previously removed an old drinking fountain in the Child and Family Center and replaced it with a bottle refill station, which have filters that remove lead. During the installation, the plumbing was turned off, and we have been told that the test likely was contaminated by an air bubble in the system (refer to the field notes from test). However, as a precaution we have taken the water fountain off line and are replacing it with a bottle refill station. 

Our testing goal is to identify the source of the problem. We have had a number of individual requests to test specific sites in buildings. As I mentioned before, our consultant is guiding what sites are tested. 

All of these efforts are focused on ensuring our drinking water is safe for our students, employees and the public. I would encourage anyone with questions about these efforts to read through the ASLS water quality website information, which includes a valuable Frequently Asked Questions section that will answer many of your questions.