The Lake Helen water system experienced high chlorine counts around Jan. 20, after a sensor in one of the city wells malfunctioned, city officials said.
According to Lake Helen Director of Administration Dominique Drager, the errant sensor mistakenly detected low levels of chlorine, prompting more chlorine to be automatically pumped into the water.
“But, since the sensor was still malfunctioning, no matter how much chlorine was actually in the water, it was still detecting low chlorine and pumping more into the water,” Drager wrote in an email in response to a query from The Beacon.
On social media, residents reported clothing and other fabrics were discolored in the laundry, and that there was a strong chemical smell to the water over the course of several days.
Lake Helen has no official alert system for residents, and did not post about the incident on the city website, as is usually done in the case of a water-pipe break or boil-water notice.
“Once the problem was realized, the malfunctioning well was addressed and all water lines in the city were flushed until the chlorine in the water was verified to be at an acceptable level,” Drager said.
The city did not respond to follow-up inquiries about when exactly the problem was found, how long it lasted, and how much chlorine ultimately got into Lake Helen customers’ water.