Monroe utility superintendent says IDEM never pointed out issues with water plant

The watertower in Monroe.

MONROE, Ind. (WANE) Adams Central Community Schools Superintendent, Dr. Lori Stiglitz, said they’ve received test results back and the water is now safe to drink. Despite the good news, Stiglitz said they will continue to offer bottled water because it is still brown.

“The lead levels, copper levels and everything came out fine so the water itself is fine there’s just an iron issue that continues so our water keeps going up and down in color,” Stiglitz said.

It’s an issue the school has been dealing with for several days now, first sending students home because of odd colored water March 2.

“I’m very cognizant of the fact that we have precious babies here whether they are 18 or 8, so we just wanted to make sure we were offering safe water so we started having bottled water while the testing was going through,” Stiglitz said.

Stiglitz sent home a letter Monday with a list of issues found with the water when the Indiana Department of Environmental Management visited. The issues included the town’s iron filter not working, an issue with flushing procedures and pipes that are too small. Problems, the town’s utility superintendent Marty Shaffer said the Indiana Department of Environmental Management never told him about.

“When IDEM came here they didn’t tell you anything about an iron filter?” NewsChannel 15’s Holly Campbell asked. “Nope. Nope,” Shaffer replied. “When IDEM came they didn’t thing anything to you about your flushing procedures or these pipes?” Campbell asked. “No,” Shaffer said. “They said we are all in compliance.”

Shafer did say the water tower is scheduled to be cleaned this year. It’s on a five year schedule because of budget constraints, but that has never caused problems in the past according to Shaffer. He said the water was never not safe to drink, but said they are aware of a possible issue with free chlorine levels not showing up outside of the plant and an issue with the aerator not working properly.

“It’s not 100 percent, so we’re going to find out how bad it is,” Shaffer said about the aerator. “But it is working otherwise we wouldn’t get water through the filter at all.”

So why is the water still brown? That remains a mystery to Shaffer.

“I have no idea,” Shaffer said. “I really don’t.”

NewsChannel 15 reached out to IDEM for answers Tuesday, but have not received any information back. We asked if the water is in fact safe to drink despite the color and whether or not there are issues at the water plant. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.