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What’s in your water? PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, April 04, 2013 12:50 PM

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DELPHOS — The City of Delphos and Ottoville and Spencerville villages have released their 2012 Drinking Water Consumer Confidence Reports detailing information regarding water sources used, any detected contaminants, compliance and educational information. The reports are due to customers by July 1st of each year.
The Delphos Water Treatment Plant, a Class 3 facility, draws its water source, which is surface water, from the Little Auglaize River. Ottoville and Spencerville, both Class 1 facilities, draw water from wells. Each of the entities follow Environmental Protection Agency guidelines and examine their source waters for microbial, inorganic and organic chemical contaminants, as well as pesticides and herbicides, which are reported in milligrams per liter (mg/l) or micrograms per liter (µg/l).
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the EPA sets legal limits on the levels of certain contaminants in drinking water and reflects both the level that protects human health and the level that water systems can achieve using the best available technology. Besides prescribing the legal limits or maximum contaminant level (MCL), EPA rules set water-testing schedules and methods that water systems must follow and list acceptable techniques for treating contaminated water.
Ohio EPA’s Northwest District Media Coordinator Dina Pierce explained the differences in soil structures in Northwest Ohio.

“Testing schedules vary depending on geographies and geologies, which contain varying amounts of naturally-occurring elements,” Pierce reasoned. “There are certain regions in Ohio that have larger amounts of these elements. Just as with nitrates, there are higher elevations detected in the spring in areas containing agriculturally-rich farmlands.”

All three municipalities have had varying levels of common inorganic contaminants, most of which are naturally occurring, in their distributed water source and include; barium, lead, copper and fluoride.

Barium is naturally-occurring and is used in well drilling. People who drink water containing barium in excess of 2 mg/l for many years could experience an increase in their blood pressure. In comparison, Ottoville recorded the highest value of .014 in 2010 and Delphos tallied the lowest level with .0107 in 2012.

Lead is a toxic metal that has been found in and around homes. At low levels, lead may cause a range of health effects including behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Lead has an MCL of 15µg/l and Ottoville registered a high of .007 back in 2009 as compared to the lowest level of 0 in Spencerville in 2012.

Copper is used in household plumbing materials. Short-term exposure to a level of copper in drinking water in excess of 1.3 mg/l, may experience gastrointestinal distress and with long-term exposure may experience liver or kidney damage. Of the three entities, Spencerville had a higher level with .25 in 2012, Ottoville followed with .081 in 2006 and Delphos recorded the lowest level at .005 in 2011.

Fluoride compounds form when fluorine combines with minerals in soil or rocks and is added to drinking water to promote dental health. Consumption of fluoride levels above the 4 mg/l MCL over a lifetime may lead to an increase of bone fractures. In 2012, Delphos tested a low 1.0, Ottoville followed with 1.46 in 2010 and Spencerville recorded a high reading of 1.94 in 2011.

In 2012, an arsenic level of 4.6 mg/l, which is below the MCL of 10 mg/l, was detected in Ottoville’s water supply. Arsenic enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits or from agricultural and industrial practices. Industrial arsenic is mostly used as a wood preservative, but is also used in paints, dyes, metals, drugs, soaps, and semi-conductors. Agricultural applications, mining, and smelting also contribute to arsenic releases in the environment. Drinking water containing arsenic in excess of the MCL may cause skin damage, problems with circulatory systems and may increase risks of getting cancer.

Additionally, a Selenium level of 3.66 mg/l was detected in Ottoville’s water supply in 2010. The metal is found in natural deposits and used in electronic and photocopier components, glass, pigments, rubber, metal alloys, textiles, petroleum, medical therapeutic agents, and photographic emulsions. Drinking water containing in excess of the maximum contaminant level of .05 mg/l for many years could cause hair or fingernail loss, numbness in fingers or toes, or problems with circulation.
Residual disinfectant total chlorine is the sum of free chlorine and combined chlorine residuals used in water to control microbes. The value is the concentrated amount of available chlorine remaining after a given contact time and detected values less than 4 mg/l are acceptable. All three facilities test for the total chlorine each month. Ottoville recorded the lowest level in 2009 with .50, followed by Spencerville with .80 in 2012 and Delphos tallied the highest value in 2012 with 1.4.

Each facility monitors for the Volatile Organic Contaminants (VOC) total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and haloacetic acids, which must meet Operational Evaluation Levels (OELs) determined by averaging specific quarterly calculations.

“These are formed when organic matter react with chlorine,” Pierce explained. “The by-products are not like bacteria, but can cause kidney and bladder issues.”
Disinfection practices can be complicated when certain microbial pathogens, such as Cryptosporidium, which are protozoans that can cause gastrointestinal illness, are highly resistant to traditional disinfection practices. People who drink water containing TTHMs in excess of 80 mg/l over many years could experience liver, kidney, or central nervous system problems and increased risk of cancer. Each facility tested for the by-product in 2012 and Delphos documented the highest level with 58, followed by Ottoville with 51 and Spencerville with a low of 47.

“Smaller facilities sample for this (TTHMs) once a year, during the third quarter of the year July through September,” Pierce added.

HAA5 components are a list of acids which, in general, have the ability to deactivate pathogens present in underground water and has been related to an increase in the risk of cancer. Over exposure to haloacetic acids can affect the kidney, liver and nervous system and harmful effects will likely worsen as a person is continuously exposed to increasing amounts of these by-products. Acceptable levels of haloacetic acids fall below the of 60 mg/l. Again, these were measured in 2012 by each of the facilities. Ottoville recorded the lowest level with 7, followed by Spencerville with 11 and Delphos with 25.

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