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Bloomfield Takes Next Steps to Repair Electric Issue and Prevent Future Service Disruptions

Bloomfield takes next steps to repair electric issue and prevent future service disruptions

City officials appreciate community’s understanding and support

BLOOMFIELD, Iowa (September 30, 2019) — The City of Bloomfield is working to repair its electric system following this weekend’s power outage. The permanent repairs should be complete by the end of the week.

“We would like to thank everyone for their patience on Saturday night while we worked to get power back on,” said Dan Wiegand, Bloomfield Mayor. “We apologize for any inconvenience that it may have caused.”

“I would also like to extend my gratitude to the city crew and Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative for working in extreme conditions late into the night and early morning to get electric service restored.”

Electric service went down about 7:30 p.m. Saturday night for all households that receive power from the City of Bloomfield. The likely cause was weather related, starting with lightning strikes in the area, excessive moisture in the substation cabinet, and the failure of the cabinet heater to dry the moisture. 

The first priority was getting the EMS radio system restored. The radios were down for roughly 10 minutes. Power was restored to half of the households by 11:30 p.m. The remaining households had power back around 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

Those working on the repairs included seven city Public Works Department employees, including Director Danny Simonson. SIEC sent four employees to assist. Three representatives from electric supplier Shermco also came to Bloomfield from Cedar Rapids. The non-electricians worked until around 4:30 a.m. Sunday. Wiegand and Garrett left around 6 a.m. The electric department employees and Simonson stayed on site until around 10 a.m. 

The crew was able to get power back on, but Wiegand described the fix as a “bandage solution” right now. The city will be working this week on permanent repairs. Residents are asked to be conservative on electricity until the repairs are complete. Businesses such as Davis County Hospital and Clinics, Success Bank, and Citizens Mutual, which have backup generators— will be using them to help reduce the load. The Davis County Community School District dismissed at 12:30 p.m. on Monday so that the schools didn’t have to run air conditioners in the afternoon when temperatures rose. The School District will be cycling its air conditioning the remainder of the week to reduce electric usage.

“We appreciate everyone pitching in to help the city through this time,” Wiegand said. “It says a lot about community spirit and being able to work together to weather a storm, no pun intended.”

If the city needs to cut power for any reason during the repair process, the outages will be scheduled and done at times when they will be least disruptive to customers. The city plans to keep everyone updated through its website (www.cityofbloomfield.org) and social media. 

The city doesn’t have a final figure on how much repairs will cost, but it could be as much as $100,000 — for the materials and labor, starting with the initial repairs from Saturday night. This week, the city will focus on repairing the T1 transformer, replacing wire from the T1 transformer to the T1 house, replacing busbars in the T1 house, and replacing any underground cable. Busbars are metallic strips or bars used in power distribution to connect high voltage equipment.

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Information for RRWA Customers about Your Drinking Water


At times, RRWA’s customers have experienced earthy and musty tastes and odors in their drinking water. RRWA would like to share the following information which we hope answers our customers’ questions about these tastes and odors in their drinking water:

Why does my water sometimes have an earthy and musty taste and odor?
Earthy and musty tastes and odors in RRWA’s water are most likely caused by two naturally occurring chemical compounds that can be found in Rathbun Lake. These compounds are geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol.

Is RRWA’s water safe to drink?
Yes, RRWA’s water is safe to drink. The tastes and odors caused by geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol in drinking water will not have any direct health impacts.

How do these taste and odor causing compounds get into Rathbun Lake?
The most likely source of geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol in Rathbun Lake are cyanobactera (or blue-green algae) blooms that occur in the lake.

When do these tastes and odors most commonly occur?
The most intense earthy and musty tastes and odors in RRWA’s water usually occur in late summer and early fall when conditions in Rathbun Lake favor algae blooms.

How long do these earthy and musty tastes and odors typically last?
As long as conditions in Rathbun Lake favor algae blooms, these tastes and odors could persist in RRWA’s water.

Does RRWA’s water treatment remove these taste and odor causing compounds?
RRWA’s water treatment does remove some of the geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol in the water from Rathbun Lake. However, many individuals are very sensitive to the tastes and odors caused by extremely small concentrations of these compounds.

What steps does RRWA take to improve the taste and odor of the water?
RRWA takes several steps to try to improve the taste and odor of the water we supply to our customers. These steps include:

  • RRWA uses granular activated carbon in our filters to help remove taste and odor-causing compounds as well as other contaminants.
  • RRWA uses sodium permanganate to break down substances that can cause tastes and odors in the water.
  • RRWA has an active water main flushing program that helps maintain the quality of drinking water in our distribution system.
  • RRWA has taken a leadership role in working with landowners, communities, and others in the Rathbun Lake watershed to help protect the quality of water in the lake.
  • Most importantly, RRWA regularly monitors the water in our treatment plant and distribution system to ensure that it is always safe for our customers to drink and use.

Should customers contact RRWA about the taste and odor of the water?
Yes, RRWA encourages our customers to contact us with any questions, concerns, and comments about their drinking water. For non-emergencies, RRWA customers can call 1-800-233-8849 between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm Monday to Friday. For emergencies, RRWA customers can call the same number, 1-800-233-8849, at any time. RRWA customers can also send emails to rrwainc@rrwa.net .

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2019 New Housing Incentive Applications Available.

On May 16, 2019, the city council approved Mayor Wiegand’s recommendations for a new housing incentive program funded by the City of Bloomfield.

Over the past decade, less than ten new homes have been built in the community. A recent study by the University of Iowa demonstrates that there is a housing shortage in Bloomfield.

New homes will provide opportunities for growing families, empty-nesters, and those that commute to Bloomfield for work.

The 2019 New Housing Incentive program details and applications are available at the link below.

2019 New Housing Incentives

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Pipeline Safety Survey

Pipeline Safety Surveys were mailed to the city’s natural gas customers around December 28, 2018. They came in an envelope like the one below.

Pipeline Safety Survey envelope

In the envelope is a brochure with important safety information and a blue survey form. Please read the brochure and complete the survey card. When complete, drop the card in the mail. No postage is necessary.

If you prefer, you can complete the survey online. Each card has a unique webcode. Look at the survey card for your instructions.

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Meter Upgrades

The City of Bloomfield is working to upgrade electric, gas, and water meters in homes and businesses now through spring 2019. Electric meters will be changed out starting after the first of the year, and a brief interruption in service can be expected at the time of installation. The City has contracted with Utiliuse, whose technicians will be working in your neighborhood and around your home to replace your existing meters. If necessary, a Utiliuse representative will contact you to schedule an appointment in person or by leaving contact information on your door. 

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