Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Providence Water Works recieves violations

According to the Kentucky Division of Water, Providence Water Works has received a total of eight violations in the first two months of 2016. With the problems with drinking water in Flint, Michigan recently, any sort of problem with tap water is reason for concern from the local citizens. But according to Water Works foreman Terry Rice, the violation data is a bit misleading.

“The water plant cannot send out bad water,” said Rice. “When levels exceed certain numbers, we have to send out letters notifying the public.”

Four of the eight violations listed by the Division of Water deal with the level of Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs). TTHMs is the sum of four disinfection byproducts present in all drinking water: chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform.
Experts report a one in a million risk of cancer due to lifelong exposure to extremely high levels of TTHMs, but the Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL) is set within the healthy limit to further decrease the risk. The levels are intended to notify water departments long before exposure reaches dangerous levels.

“I can assure you that this water is safe when it leaves the plant,” Rice said. “If it wasn’t, my employees and I would all be in handcuffs.”

Three other violations are due to an elevated level of haloaetic aids (HAA5) and the eight resulted from a monitoring issue at the Providence City Lake.

A release issued by the city of Providence and the Energy and Environmental Cabinet on Monday explains the recent violations:
“Sometimes notifications meant to provide people with information turns into problems for both the people they are intended to help as well as others,” the release says. “Such has been the case with recent notifications sent out by many Kentucky Water Systems as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

Basically, when a water system’s tests shows the level of certain chemicals to be out of the approved levels, the system must issue letters notifying the customers.

“There is no need to switch to bottled water instead of tap water if your water system was one of the many that sent out these notifications,” the release continues. (Read this letter in its entirety on Page B6).

The city of Providence and Providence Water Works have long been seeking funding to replace many antiquated sections of waterlines in the city’s systems, but those funds continue to come up short.

Yearly the Green River Area Development District ranks water projects in its seven county district based on customers served, project readiness, economic development and environmental impact. Those rankings are then reviewed by the Kentucky General Assembly when awarding money to fund such projects.

Two projects in Providence have appeared on that ranking more than once, but never high enough to recieve government funding. They include:
•$4.5 million to replace 10 miles worth of cast iron pipes with PVC.
•$3.5 million to replace asbestos water mains in downtown.

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