VALDOSTA — The Lowndes County Commission’s recent approval of $1.6 million for water-treatment equipment is expected to counter a past series of water-quality violations within the county.
The Lowndes County Utilities Department notified customers of the county’s water quality violations from Aug. 6 to Sept. 6, 2013.
The county’s Alapaha Water System exceeded the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for trihalomethanes (TTHM) and haloacetic acids (HAA5s) for the third quarter in 2010, the fourth quarter in 2011, all quarters of 2012, and the first and second quarter of 2013.
“The cause of these violations was from adding chlorine to the ground water, which contain high levels of organic carbons and thereby creating disinfection byproducts above normal levels,” said Mike Allen, Lowndes County utility director. “Currently, the Alapaha Water Plant is being engineered for an upgrade to help remove the organic carbons from the water source. The Spring Creek system will be undergoing the same process in the near future.”
Although their overall testing varies monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually, the county conducts quarterly tests for TTHMs and HAA5s. The maximum contaminant levels established by United States Environmental Protection Agency is 0.080 mg/L and 0.060 mg/L.
What follows is the compliance period: the average amount of TTHM, and the amount of HAA5s:
• Third Quarter 2010: 0.205 mg/L of TTHM, and 0.102 mg/L of HAA5s
• Fourth Quarter of 2011: 0.136 mg/L of TTHM, and 0.105 mg/L of HAA5s
• First Quarter of 2012: 0.156 mg/L of TTHM, and 0.104 mg/L of HAA5s
• Second Quarter of 2012: 0.123 mg/L of TTHM, and 0.079 mg/L of HAA5s
• Third Quarter of 2012: 0.166 mg/L of TTHM, and 0.109 mg/L of HAA5s
• Fourth Quarter of 2012: 0.131 mg/L of TTHM, and 0.082 mg/L of HAA5s
• First Quarter of 2013: 0.124 mg/L of TTHM, and 0.075 mg/L of HAA5s
• Second Quarter of 2013: 0.154 mg/L of TTHM, and 0.103 mg/L of HAA5s
“Some people who drink water containing trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids in excess of the maximum contaminant level over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer,” the public notice states.
The notice also informed residents that no action was or is required by them because “this violation does not pose a threat to the quality of the water supplied. Residents should not be alarmed and do not seek alternative water supplies. The supplier is taking corrective actions to insure that adequate monitoring and reporting will be maintained.”
The county’s immediate response to resolve this issue was increased flushing of the water system to increase the water circulation.
This week, during the Lowndes County Commission meeting, commissioners voted to buy two pieces of equipment, one for the Alapaha Water Treatment Plant and the other for the Spring Creek System. The Lowndes County Commission approved spending $1,638,000 to purchase the equipment to improve the county’s water quality as per an agreement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter said, “The purchase of the MIEX system from Orica Watercare for the Alapaha water system brings the county a step closer to completing the process agreed upon between Lowndes County and the EPA to bring by product levels down to an acceptable level. This same process, approved in 2008, was installed at the North Lowndes system and continues to meet expectations. In addition, staff was able to negotiate a $71,000 discount for the purchase of a system for the Spring Creek plant, being that a solution could be required in the near future.”
More information, contact Mike Allen, (229) 671-2500; or P.O. Box 1349, Valdosta, Ga., 31603.