DeKalb water determined safe for drinking
May 26, 2016
Southern Torch (3351 articles)
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DeKalb water determined safe for drinking

By Joseph M. Morgan

joseph@southerntorch.com

DEKALB COUNTY, Ala.— Last Thursday eight Alabama water systems, including two in Northeast Alabama, were the subject of drinking water advisories issued by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warning that tests showed concentrations of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

The advisories recommended that pregnant and breast-feeding mothers served by identified water systems consider using alternate sources of drinking water, but then were lifted Monday for five of the eight systems including the Northeast Alabama Water District in Fort Payne after the agencies issued another announcement revealing plans instead to conduct confirmatory sampling in two systems—Gadsden Water Works and Sewer Board and Centre Water and Sewer Board, Southside Water Works and Sewer Board, and the Utilities Board of Rainbow City.

The original advisories applied to: West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority, Gadsden Water Works and Sewer Board, Centre Water and Sewer Board, V.A.W. (Vinemont Anon West Point) Water Systems Inc., West Lawrence Water Co-op, Northeast Alabama Water District, Rainbow City Utilities Board, Southside Water Works and Sewer Board.

Though Northeast Alabama Water District was listed initially as at risk for containing contaminants, the organization’s general manager Johnny Jordan said DeKalb County residents were never at risk of consuming contaminated water.

Following the initial advisory released last week, Northeast Alabama Water District located in Fort Payne was initially included among the water systems thought to be among those which might be contaminated because of a former purchase agreement with Centre Water Works which at one time served as a source of water for part of the Northeast Alabama Water District.

“Several water systems in the state were named showing a presence of these chemicals,” Northeast Alabama Water District General Manager Johnny Jordan said. “The Northeast Alabama Water District was identified as one of these systems. It has been determined that the source was a connection to Centre Water Works which was serving a small area around the City of Centre.

“Northeast Alabama Water District had a purchase agreement with Centre Water Works that expired in early April of this year, at which time we stopped receiving water from this source. I want to assure all of customers that Northeast Water does not have these contaminants present in any of our water.”

PFOS and PFOA are man-made chemicals that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water. They are found in products such as nonstick cookware, carpet protection products, firefighting foams, and waterproof clothing. PFOS and PFOA in drinking water are usually from facilities that manufactured these compounds and industries that used them in their manufacturing processes.

Dr. Jim McVay, director of health promotions and chronic disease ADPH, said Tuesday that agencies instead will “conduct confirmatory sampling” at Gadsden Water Works and Sewer Board and Centre Water and Sewer Board that provide water to Southside Water Works and Sewer Board, and the Utilities Board of Rainbow City.

Following the release of the advisories, state officials reviewed water system data and talked to system officials to gather more information leading to the reduction of the eight-system list to just two systems, McVay said.

Centre Mayor Tony Wilkie also released a statement indicating that any contaminants found in the system’s drinking water in Cherokee County came from a source no longer used.

“I’m confident the Centre Water and Sewer Board will continue to strive to give citizens the best quality of water possible and to meet any new regulations put forth by the EPA, ADEM and the Department of Health,” Wilkie said.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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