Antifreeze in a sprinkler system backed up into the water distribution system of a business near Brandy Road Wednesday morning, according to the Town of Culpeper Water and Sewer Department.
Staff had been flushing a hydrant north of the intersection of Bradford Road and Braggs Corner Road at about 9 a.m. when workers noted that “the water was dark and had an odor of a solvent,” according to a press release from the director of public services. An investigation revealed the presence of antifreeze, a propylene glycol product.
According to the release, propylene glycol is a nonhazardous liquid used for many purposes in household and business products. It is water soluble and has no known adverse effects on human health. However, the town distributed notices door-to-door in the area not to drink the water or cook with it.
The town is distributing bottled water to affected residents and businesses.
Based on initial investigation, it is believed that the resulting backflow and release of this chemical into the public water distribution system was confined to a small area north of the town along Brandy Road, the release also stated. Town water utility staff are flushing the water distribution lines affected to remove any residual contamination that may have entered the public water lines.
The public services department estimates the situation should be back to normal within 48 hours.
The town has a backflow prevention ordinance in place that should have prevented the sprinkler system from allowing water to flow back into the water distribution system.
The town is working with the county and the Virginia Department of Health Office of Drinking Water to determine how the incident occurred despite the legal requirements for backflow prevention.