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Another water system citation letter sent home

Our water is still safe to drink even though the Fayette County Water System was cited for a chemical treatment violation recently, county officials said in a mailing to all water system customers.

The system has been cited for violating the maximum level for trihalomethanes, which is a byproduct of the use of chlorine to disinfect drinking water to eliminate disease-causing organisms, for the third quarter of this year.

The maximum contaminant level for trihalomethane is .08 milligrams per liter, and for the third quarter of this year the water system had a reading of .109 milligrams per liter from July 1 to Sept. 30, according to a letter sent to water system customers dated Sept. 16.

Although the letter notes that the violation “does not pose a threat” to water quality, some people who drink water with elevated trihalomethanes over many years could experience liver, kidney or central nervous system problems and an increased risk of cancer, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Those risks were also explained in the letter.

The water system has been investigating different treatment techniques to reduce total organic carbon levels from its reservoirs, which officials believe will also reduce the formation of trihalomethanes. A pilot test of different techniques has been conducted but additional testing was deemed necessary before selecting a method, the letter noted.

The county predicts it will take a couple of months to verify the pilot test, though a recommendation from the county’s drinking water consulting firm is expected next month.

Also, the water system has increased its fire hydrant flushing program in areas because trihalomethane formation increases with the age of the water in the distribution system, the letter noted.

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