MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Minot residents with the zip codes 58701, 58702, and 58703 have either received or are receiving a letter about their drinking water.

The letter states that in November, the City of Minot did not collect and report the required number of source water samples for coliform testing, which looks for certain bacteria, like E. Coli.

“One of our sites tested positive for bacteria, which triggers increased monitoring. So then we collected a repeat sample at that site, and then a sample upstream from the site, and downstream from the site, and a source water sample. We collected the four samples and they all come back negative,” said Mark Paddock, the superintendent of the Minot Water Treatment Plant.

However, Paddock wants the public to know that there was never any cause for alarm to the public.

He says that even though the correct sample was taken, it was too late for it to be submitted as part of the normal monthly sampling.

Which is why the City was required to send the letter out.

“The water plant employees, they sampled the three locations, but they forgot to do, or they collected the wrong source water sample at the time. And then about a week later the State notified us that we collected the wrong source water sample. By the time we got the source water in for testing, it was beyond the allotted time,” said Jason Sorenson, the assistant director for Minot Public Works.

The treatment plant employees collect 50 water samples each month, twice a month for each of the 25 testing sites. This is to ensure the quality is safe for Minot residents to use.

“Nine times out of ten, positive samples are caused by operator error. It is such a sensitive sample when you collect it. If somebody sneezes in the room or if the operator would set the cap down on a table, it can pick up bacteria very easily and contaminate the sample,” said Paddock.

And for those who think the water in Minot doesn’t taste good, Paddock says it’s safe for consumption, people just have different tastes for their water.

“It’s a matter of opinion. I love our water. There’s lots of people that do like our water. There’s lots of people that do not like our water so it’s all individual tastebuds. We all have different preferences on the taste of water,” said Paddock.

Paddock says if there ever was a water quality issue, the public would be alerted immediately.

In order to make sure this doesn’t happen again, the Water Treatment Plant will have additional increased employee training and verification.