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Edenton warns about water again

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Anne-Marie Knighton

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By Nicole Bowman-Layton
Chowan Herald

Saturday, April 20, 2019

EDENTON — While Eden­ton of­fi­cials are again warn­ing res­i­dents to be care­ful drink­ing the town’s wa­ter, they’re also not­ing work will be­gin soon to rem­edy the prob­lems caus­ing the wa­ter to be in vi­o­la­tion of state law.

In a let­ter to the town’s 2,107 wa­ter cus­tomers on March 29, Town Man­ager Anne-Marie Knighton said the town’s wa­ter sys­tem re­mains in vi­o­la­tion of state law be­cause it con­tains el­e­vated lev­els of tri­halomethanes, a byprod­uct of the chem­i­cal process to dis­in­fect drink­ing wa­ter. Tri­halomethanes, or THMs, are con­sid­ered a car­cino­genic.

Knighton said the high THM lev­els in the town’s wa­ter don’t pose an emer­gency, but cus­tomers — par­tic­u­larly those with spe­cific health con­cerns — need to know about them.

“Some peo­ple who drink wa­ter con­tain­ing tri­halomethanes in ex­cess of max­i­mum con­tam­i­nate lev­els over many years — the state de­fines as 70 years — may ex­pe­ri­ence prob­lems with their liver, kid­neys or cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem and may have an in­creased risk of get­ting can­cer,” Knighton said in the let­ter.

Knighton said the town has been ex­ceed­ing the to­tal THMs max­i­mum con­tam­i­nant level al­lowed by the N.C. Divi­sion of Water Qual­ity since 2015, when the rules changed. The town has been no­ti­fy­ing its wa­ter cus­tomers of the vi­o­la­tions and its plans to bring the wa­ter sys­tem back into com­pli­ance. That plan features up­grades to both of the town’s wa­ter treat­ment plants, in­clud­ing to the Beaver Hill Water Treat­ment Plant by Septem­ber.

Un­der state law, Eden­ton and other mu­nic­i­pal and county wa­ter sup­pli­ers are re­quired to mon­i­tor their drink­ing wa­ter for con­tam­i­nates such as THMs. Water sam­ples col­lected in March from one or more Eden­ton’s sam­pling sites showed the con­tam­i­na­tion con­cen­tra­tion ex­ceeded the max­i­mum al­lowed for THMs, Knighton’s let­ter states.

The sam­ple lo­ca­tion with the high­est av­er­age level of to­tal THMs had a con­cen­tra­tion of 0.192 mg/​L. — twice the av­er­age stan­dard of .080 mg/​L.

Knighton said the town ex­pects its THM lev­els to con­tinue to be in vi­o­la­tion of state law un­til Eden­ton is able to com­plete up­grades to one of its two wa­ter treat­ment plants. Eden­ton has al­ready se­cured the re­quired state per­mits and fund­ing it needs to in­stall new treat­ment pro­cesses at both plants.

“This new treat­ment process will to­tally re­move the pre­curs­ers that cause THMs,” Knighton’s let­ter states.

A li­censed con­trac­tor has been awarded a con­tract to in­stall a new treat­ment process and up­grade the plants. Knighton’s let­ter states the con­trac­tor or­dered ma­te­ri­als and be­gan mo­bi­liz­ing to be­gin con­struc­tion this month.

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