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Brainerd extends boil order due to bacteria in water

BRAINERD, Minn. -- An order for Brainerd residents to boil water has been extended, and chlorine was being added to the city's water system Saturday to combat contamination that may have occurred due to a water main break.

BRAINERD, Minn. -- An order for Brainerd residents to boil water has been extended, and chlorine was being added to the city’s water system Saturday to combat contamination that may have occurred due to a water main break.

Brainerd Public Utilities officials reported Friday that of 12 tests done on the system, one was positive for bacteria. That prompted an order to boil water for drinking and cooking for a week or until further notice.

Brainerd Public Utilities Superintendent Scott Magnuson said Saturday that while total coliform bacteria is harmless, its presence means there’s a potential for more harmful bacteria.

"If there's even a chance we could have E. coli in there, we need to attack it," he said.

The tests were conducted Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health after a drop in water pressure that resulted from a broken water line and a loss of power due to a thunderstorm.

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Those issues prevented the water tower at the site of the former Brainerd State Hospital from filling up overnight. That water tower, which holds 750,000 gallons, is being used because the city’s main water tower near downtown, which holds 1 million gallons, is out of commission while it’s being worked on.

The order to boil water started Thursday and was extended Friday. BPU advised residents to continue boiling water while the system is chlorinated.

The Brainerd Public Utilities Commission plans to meet Monday to discuss the issue.

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