According to Rockford City Manager Michael Young, the city water is safe and two required tests show that residents can again ingest water without having to boil it. An electrical storm that caused severe damage Monday, May 31, included two lightning hits that damaged the computer system that runs the water plant and elevated water towers. Young said he believed the Wolverine World Wide tank, which is owned by the city, was struck.
The water treatment system that fills tanks in the city is automated. When tanks lower to about half full, the computer tells the plant to turn on water and refill them. Apparently the lightening fried the automated program and also the back-up that tells operators when the program isn’t working.
“We have a back up system that turns on an alarm when the system is down,” Young said. Because of the damage, neither system worked and at least one of three tanks—the Wolverine tank, the North Rockford Middle School tank and the Glen Eagle tank ran low enough to allow air to enter the water system.
“It’s required by the state when anything, even if it is just air, enters the water system we have to issue a boil water warning,” Young said. He said preliminary tests on Wednesday showed the water was safe and a test done 24-hours later, about 6 a.m. Thursday morning, also confirmed the water was fine. There were at least three lightning hits in the city during the several hours of the storm. During the boil water warning Young answered questions posed by residents on his blog at www.rockford.mi.us.