Today, I was made aware of an issue in my hometown of Miles City (via Snapchat, funnily enough) on how the water systems are not safe to cook with, or drink, among other things.

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Order Issued At 10:29 AM Today

The order was sent out via the notification system called Nixle to the residents of Miles City and Custer County, with the following information:

The Mils (Miles) City Public Water and the Custer County Water Sewer District are issuing a BOIL WATER ORDER for their systems due to inadequate disinfection at the water treatment plant.


Bring tap water to a rolling boil for one minute, and cool before using.  Boiled or bottle water should be used for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth, and preparing food until further notice.

BOIL WATER ORDER is in effect until further notice.  Updates will be provided.

Clearly rushed response aside, I called the Miles City Public Works department to ask more about this issue and got in touch with Tom Speelmon, Director of Public Utilities.

The Issue At Hand

I asked Tom what the root cause was, and he repeated it was due to inadequate disinfection of the water at the treatment plant. Specifically, the chlorination process had not reached proper levels, thus the contaminated water was sent throughout the city.

What should the people be worried about from this?

Tom said issues such as stomach aches due to microbes in the water could occur, or a slight illness.

What has Miles City done to fix this problem?

According to Tom, Chlorination has been fixed with the treatment systems, and the city is working to flush the entire network with clean water. That may take some time, so the boil order was issued.

My Take

Having family members of a certain age (60+), this concerns me. Younger, healthier people can fight off these things far better than the older generation... and for my own mother to tell me she found out "On Facebook" is a concern.

I did not know about this Nixle system, nor did anyone else I spoke with excluding one friend... so it makes me wonder how the City gets the word out on these sorts of issues. I know here in Billings, we would make an article on it within minutes of the release... and get it on the radio waves to ensure as much coverage as possible.

Here's hoping nobody ends up sick in the hospital from a little mishap.

What are your thoughts?

Do you think the City of Miles City should be paying closer attention? Do you know anyone feeling sick after drinking that water? Let us know on App Chat or on Facebook.

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