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ECOWATER SYSTEMS ISSUES PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE FOLLOWING FLOOD-RELATED DRINKING WATER CONTAMINATION

 ST. PAUL, Minn., July 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Once Des Moines and other flood-stricken areas in the Midwest receive the "all clear" that their municipal water supply is safe to use and drink again, homeowners must take several steps to ensure that their home plumbing system and water treatment equipment is also ready to use again. Similarly, residents who get water from a well must be concerned about contamination of their water supply and should follow some basic procedures to clean their well and water treatment equipment before use, according to EcoWater Systems, the world's largest manufacturer of residential water treatment systems.
 Water softeners, heaters and filters -- as well as any other appliances water passes through before reaching the faucet -- must be thoroughly cleaned to rid them of foreign materials that can contaminate clean water entering the home. However, before cleaning or operating water-using appliances homeowners should make sure equipment that has been partially or fully submerged in water is completely dry -- particularly electrical components.
 Cleaning Procedure for Municipal Water Use
 Homeowners using the municipal water supply to flush out water softeners and carbon filters if they have them. "To clean water softeners, homeowners should pour three gallons of clean water into the salt tank, add two cups of household chlorine bleach to the water and regenerate or recharge the softener," says John Schlafer, chief chemical engineer at EcoWater Systems. "When the regeneration cycle is finished, the owner should turn on a hot water faucet, let the water run until it becomes cold and turn the faucet off. That will flush out the water heater, at which point both the heater and softener will be clean and ready for use again."
 With carbon filters, homeowners simply need to remove and discard the old carbon cartridge filter, wash the sump and head with household detergent and bleach and insert a new cartridge filter.
 If homeowners have a whole-house carbon tank filter, they should replace the entire carbon bed and rinse the inside of the tank filter with a household bleach and water solution.
 Cleaning Procedure for Well Users
 Homeowners who use a well system need to "shock chlorinate" their well according to Schlafer. "Essentially, shock treating a well involves using a household bleach solution to flush out the entire system," says Schlafer. "Well users should have received specific instructions for shocking their wells from the service personnel at the time of installation. If they did not, or have questions about the procedure, they should talk with the pump installer." Schlafer adds that it's important for homeowners to drain their water heater prior to shocking the well and then reopen it while shocking the system so the chlorine runs through the heater and rids it of any remaining contaminated water.
 Also, if there is any type of water filter in place, it should be removed and discarded according to the manufacturer's instructions before shocking the well. A new cartridge can be installed after the shocking is completed.
 "Well users should remember that if their wells are contaminated, the aquifers supplying them probably are as well, says Schlafer. "Therefore, homeowners should repeat shock chlorinating at least once a week for one month. Also, they should have their water checked after each treatment by a laboratory to ensure that it's safe to drink."
 Precaution for Residents Boiling Water
 Schlafer has a word of caution for residents who rely on boiling water to remove contaminants. "While boiling will eliminate most bacteria in water, it can concentrate other substances," he says. "Harmful materials such as pesticides and lead, which are not affected by heat, can be left behind in greater concentration when some of the water evaporates during the boiling process." To guard against health risks, homeowners may want to contact a local laboratory or a certified water treatment specialist to test their water.
 Homeowners with questions regarding the safety of their drinking water should contact local public health and municipal water department officials.
 -0- 7/16/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: After-hours and weekend contacts are Floyd Smith, 612-432-4105 or Tom Jollie, 612-484-5176, both for EcoWater Systems/
 /CONTACT: Floyd Smith of EcoWater Systems, 612-731-7455, or Tom Jolie or Julie Klaustermeier, both of Padilla Speer Beardsley, Inc., 612-297-6500, for EcoWater Systems/


CO: EcoWater Systems ST: Minnesota IN: ENV SU:

TM -- NY069 -- 2751 07/16/93 22:42 EDT
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Date:Jul 16, 1993
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