8/20/2021 11:56:00 AM Center City info meeting in response to manganese issue
Center City Mayor Jill Behnke, Council member Ryan Pease and Public Works Supt. Eric Garner met with two state engineers from the manganese response team Thursday last week to set a course of action for the city in response to manganese levels in the municipal system. They conferred August 12 by a remote internet connection set-up at Center City Hall. Todd Johnson and Lucas Martin took questions, but they are not toxicologists and deferred alot of concerns to another division of the MN Dept. of Health.
Clerk Valerie Fox added a little humor to the situation saying phone calls to her office after mailing warning notice of high levels of manganese, included comments she had butchered the word magnesium, in the health notice to residents. The notice provided by the state did not really describe what the trace mineral manganese is and why it is now being tested for. Fox said residents were somewhat confused for the most part.
Martin responded that this is “...a pretty new thing” for municipal systems, and that manganese was only recently added to private well testing guidance too. He said the response team is dealing with 200 cities concerned over manganese test results and some had readings much higher than what Center City tested for this summer.
June water tests showed manganese at well number one at 333 to 341 micrograms per liter. The state’s geology in general is very manganese-rich and the state average is 337.
Unfortunately, health based guidance values for this mineral have been set at 300 for a continual exposure over a lifetime (70 years.) And, for babies and infants and “most sensitive’ populations the consumption level is 100. Toxic manganese starts at 1,000 micrograms per liter.
The mineral is a concern as a potential cognitive and nervous system development risk at excessive levels.
Center City Mayor Behnke asked if there was a way to identify households where babies reside and reach out to them. If the city can alleviate early formative health concerns within this subset of the population; it could buy some time to figure out if a costly treatment plant is really needed, or a new well can be punched or if household filtration would most efficiently address the issue.
Johnson said it is up to the city to decide the best remediation. He added that for individual household systems; reverse osmosis or water softeners are feasible to reduce manganese. For one all you do is add salt, so it is simpler to use— but chlorides from road de-icer and water softeners are a concern as contaminants in the natural world.
Look on a product for the NSF label as to what it treats. Packaging should state what the device was tested for.
Johnson added, “We have no legal authority to make you do anything,” upon receiving test results for this mineral.
The city council holds its next regular meeting September 2, but a special city information session will be held at city hall September 16 at 7 p.m. to focus on manganese. A public question and answer information session will include a toxicology specialist along with Martin, from engineering, and county public health will be invited. County maternal child health division records were being checked for locations of Center City newborns and those families will be advised of options to address their household situation. If you have youngsters age three and under you may also want to inform the clerk.