|What’s in your water?|
|Thursday, April 04, 2013 12:50 PM|
“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.
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.”
“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.
For more information, please visit water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm#Byproducts or epa.ohio.gov/Portals/28/documents/ccr/NWDO.html