[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                       August 8, 2008

Fort McCoy drinking water meets 
all quality standard requirements

Persistent rumors have resurfaced that the water in the buildings at Fort McCoy is not safe to drink.

"There is no truth to these rumors," said Michael Miller, an Environmental Protection specialist with the Fort McCoy Directorate of Public Works (DPW). In fact, Fort McCoy actually has some of the best drinking water in the state, Miller said.

Fort McCoy provides high-quality drinking water to a work force and training population that numbers in the thousands, or equal to a city like Tomah or Sparta. 

Year-after-year, the installation’s drinking water has met and often surpasses all local, state or federal standards. Fort McCoy’s military operations do give its water some unique characteristics that aren’t necessarily found in other similar-sized organizations.

The drinking water is under constant pressure for fire protection. As the water is drawn from the tap, the water is depressurized. This causes tiny air bubbles to form and sometimes gives the water a cloudy or milky appearance. The bubbles dissipate after the water sits for a few minutes and becomes clear. The water does not pose a safety risk to the consumer.

Because of the training schedule, some buildings are not in use year round. If these buildings are located toward the end of the drinking water distribution line, the water may become stagnated.

Stagnant water often appears cloudy or colored, and it may have an unpleasant taste, but it is safe to drink. If military personnel are going into a barracks that hasn’t been used in a while and has stagnant water, they should open all the taps and run the water for about 15 minutes to flush the pipes out.

If concerns exist after the lines are flushed, unit representatives may contact the DPW Water Treatment Plant at (608) 388-2323 to request the water main adjacent to the building be flushed.

The operators then will perform field analysis to determine if the water’s chlorine levels are in the safe drinking range. They will also collect samples and send them to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene for analysis, Miller said.

The drinking water on the installation is chlorinated to prevent pathogens and treated to prevent metals in the distribution system pipes from leaching into the water.

Like other Wisconsin municipalities, Fort McCoy must perform tests required by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to ensure its drinking water is safe from chemical contamination and pathogens. The results from the testing are released yearly.

All personnel who buy bottled water do so at their own expense. Anyone working, living or training at Fort McCoy is encouraged to drink sufficient water to meet good health practices.

This includes remaining properly hydrated when the warmer weather returns. If personnel don’t drink enough water, they may be creating a health risk.

Any installation personnel who are concerned about stagnated water or water appearance or taste in their buildings are encouraged to run the tap water before drinking it.

For more information about Fort McCoy water quality, sources or testing, visit the Fort McCoy Web site at http://www.mccoy.army.mil and click on reading room and drinking water quality reports for North or South Post or call the Water Treatment Plant.


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