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Water quality issues addressed at Havre meeting

Water quality issues addressed at Havre meeting
Posted at 4:26 PM, May 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-07 18:26:18-04

HAVRE — Since April 19, the city of Havre has been under a boil water advisory. On Monday, May 6, dozens of Havre residents attended the monthly city council meeting for an update, and to demand answers.

The meeting was a packed room of concerned residents looking for clarity.

“Is there a quick remedy to this, or are we gonna continue on having this same problem continuously?” one resident asked.

Trevor Mork, Director of Public Works for the City of Havre, told the community that they have met with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and decided to continue the boil water advisory out of an abundance of caution.

“There probably wouldn’t have been however many people there were in that room today if this reassurance had been given,” said Sam Ayres, a resident who lives just north of the city, “If somebody had stepped up and taken responsibility for this.”

In the meantime, a full system flush is going on, as well as increased chlorine disinfection as an added precaution. On the week of May 20th, the city’s water will have a comprehensive performance evaluation. Mork says that they expect to be off the boil order 15 days from Monday’s meeting.

The meeting ran about three hours as people shared their frustrations with the city, including what they said was a poor distribution of the warning and lack of information given to the public.

“There was a lot of… I feel like people just needed to be heard as well,” Ayres said.

The effects of the boil water advisory are felt throughout the community. Students are limited to one free bottle of water a day and cannot use the water fountains at school, and numerous people cited skin irritation and illnesses such as giardia. One woman said that her daughter, who does not usually have sensitive skin, was itching herself after a bath.

With a high water bill and an increased grocery bill to pay for bottled water, people simply want a solution and the city to take accountability.

“What I think the entire city has been asking for for a while now is that transparency, is that reassurance,” Ayres said, “Cause it feels like it’s just been thrown up in the air and nobody actually has a grasp of what’s going on.”

“Time is of the essence,” said Kay McLain, another Havre resident, “I think that some mistakes were made. I think that in the beginning there wasn’t the transparency that there is now, but it is very important that…you know, the clock is ticking.”

The large turnout at the meeting did provide some comfort for people trying to make a difference in the city.

“You can make real change and see it immediately happen in your community if you get involved with this stuff,” Ayres said, “So I think honestly that’s gonna be one of the best things I hope comes out of this meeting, is seeing that extra community involvement in our local government.

Despite the circumstances, many residents are trying to remain optimistic, hoping to see change soon.

MAY 2, 2024: