Ironwood/Hurley Residents Told to Use Bottled Water for Infants

Updated: August 09, 2019 10:49 PM

Authorities are advising people in Ironwood and Hurley to use bottled water to feed infants over concerns about manganese levels in tap water.


The City of Ironwood says it sampled its wells in response to customer complaints about discolored water and found one well with a manganese level of 520 parts per billion.  The well was turned off Wednesday.

The city says the level of manganese leaving the city's water plant, which mixes water from multiple wells, was found to be 280 parts per billion.  The EPA's manganese health advisory level for children less than 12 months old is 300 parts per billion, and the level for adults is 1,000 parts per billion.

According to information distributed by the city, infants who consume water with levels of manganese over 300 parts per billion over time may have elevated exposure, which could increase their risk for learning and behavior problems.

Additional testing started Friday, but the advisory will remain in place until testing is completed.

The cities of Ironwood and Hurley are providing bottled water for families with infants 12 months and under until further notice.  The bottled water can be picked up at the Ironwood Public Safety Office, 123 West McLeod Avenue, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The City of Ironwood said adults and children over 12 months old can continue to use tap water for drinking because the bodies of people older than 12 months can remove excessive manganese.  People of all ages can continue to use city water for bathing, brushing teeth, washing clothes, and washing dishes.

Boiling water will not remove manganese.

The City of Ironwood said the EPA does not regulate manganese, a naturally-occurring metal, and the city has never been required to test for it.  The city says it is in compliance with all drinking water standards.

The city also tested water for iron and found the highest level to be 410 parts per billion, far below the EPA's level for health screening of 14,000 parts per billion.

Who to call:

Ironwood residents with questions can call the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department at 906-482-7382 or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at 906-482-7382.  The lines are answered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Additionally, the Ironwood Water Department can be reached at 906-932-5050, extension 110, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hurley residents with questions can call the Iron County Health Department at 715-561-2191 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ask in person:

Representatives from several agencies will be on hand at the regularly-scheduled Ironwood City Commission meeting on Monday, August 12, at 5:30 p.m. at the Ironwood Memorial Building, 213 South Marquette Street.


City of Ironwood

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