Water manager considers new testing lab
By Erik Buchinger
Clintonville’s City Hall had a failed water sample last month, but it was likely due to a bad bottle, according to the city’s water manager Dave Tichinel.
“It could have been a bad bottle, or it could have been an operator error,” Tichinel said. “To do more investigation with the DNR, we had to do five additional samples the very next day. We sampled the wells that were running that day, and all five samples came back negative, so it was probably a bad bottle.”
Tichinel said he also sampled City Hall again, which was not an issue.
“Thank goodness that wasn’t a problem,” Tichinel said. “We do have chlorine in the system, and we have it measured so there really shouldn’t have been bacteria in the system.”
According to Tichinel, bacteria can easily be spread to the bottles used for testing.
“The lab is usually very careful with their sealed bottles, but if they get one bad bottle with your thumb or your fingers that could give you a bad sample,” Tichinel said.
Tichinel said this is not the first time there has been an issue with the water testing.
“The reason I’m saying this is last winter we had a sample that was frozen getting to Madison and now this,” Tichinel said. “My next thing is we can take it to a local lab. The State of Hygiene down in Madison does the bacteria testing as of right now for free. We just have to pay to send them there, which is almost $12.”
Tichinel said there is another option he might consider.
“I can take them myself and have the guy from Clean Water Testing out of Appleton run the same tests,” Tichinel said. “They’re $20 a test, but if I have any more problems with the state lab, I’m going to cancel that.”
Tichinel said he does five water tests each month.
“There would be an increase in price, but at least I know they get there,” Tichinel said. “Part of the problem with the system is that you have 30 hours for the lab to receive that sample.”
At his last job, Tichinel said he noticed that most of the northern counties changed over and started using local labs. He might consider going local as well.
“We might change over eventually to using the lab instead of getting free ones,” Tichinel said. “This would guarantee they get to the lab within 30 hours.”
Tichinel said he spoke with the Mike Hanten, who runs Clean Water Testing, and said Hanten would stop by and pick up the samples for free.
According to Tichinel, he might make the switch to Clean Water Testing if there is another problem in the future.
“I’m seeing a couple glitches in the system out of Madison,” Tichinel said. “If we go through this again one more time, it’s three strikes and you’re out.”