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Lancaster water customers get notices

August 19, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LANCASTER - Notices have been mailed to city water customers informing them of a minor non-compliance with treatment standards.

The notice states that during a monitoring of contaminants, the percent removal of Total Organic Carbon in the water met a ratio of .73 when the "rather complicated goal" is 1.00.

The notice states that while Total Organic Carbon has no health effects, it can provide a medium for the formation of disinfection byproducts (DBP's) such as Trihaolmethanes and Haloacedic Acids. Both can lead to adverse health effects including cancer.

Meleeva Chamberlain with the Kentucky Division of Water said checking for TOC's is something that water systems have had to monitor for, according to regulations passed by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2002.

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"In order to experience ill health effects, a person would have to drink 2 liters of water a day for 70 years," she said.

According to a press release from the Division of Water, when water systems disinfect the water to remove bacteria, viruses, and microbes, the disinfectants used, such as chlorine, can react with substances that occur naturally in the water to create disinfection byproducts.

But if the water is not disinfected, substances in the water could result in disease or possibly death. "It might be more serious if you didn't disinfect," Chamberlain said.

Troy Deshon with the Lancaster water system maintains that the system is in compliance with standards and calls the EPA mandate a "bogus regulation." He said having to send out the notices is frustrating. "Customers call us and ask, 'Why do we get this when there are no health hazards?'" he said.

Chamberlain said when water systems find the elevated levels, they are supposed to "tinker with the way they process their water." And whether adverse health effects can result from the TOC's is not clear. She said some studies show no problem from consuming the water, while others showed only a slightly higher incidence of bladder and colon cancer.



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