Hrotic said the authority sent out a TOC notice Nov. 15 that contained an explanation of the water system violation that was discovered during routine monitoring. The violation is not a water quality issue, she added.
Total organic carbon, or TOC, is a term used to describe the measurement of organic, carbon based, contaminants in a water system.
The water authority is required by the state Department of Environmental Protection to remove 35 percent of the TOC from the water. But Hrotic said the authority reached 33.25 percent removal.
Meeting the standard is “difficult to do,” she said, because the raw reservoir water is clean to start with, unlike river water.
In addition to the TOC test, the authority has added a second test, and both are conducted monthly on a rolling basis.
Samples are sent to a laboratory and the results are put into a formula to get an average. Lab results are reported directly to the DEP, which notified the authority of the violation in October. The water authority had 30 days to notify customers.
Hrotic said the September test caused the problem, which she believes was a result of a long, extended summer.
“I expect even though our October test was good, we’re probably going to have to reissue this TOC notice… because we have to work out that average.”
The water authority has received TOC violations in the past, though Hrotic said it’s been awhile.
Hrotic said AWA has received about 40 telephone calls since sending out the violation notice. The authority expects to return to compliance in the third quarter of 2017.
Until the proper removal ratio is achieved, Hrotic said additional notices may continue to be sent out to customers by mail, on the next bill or posted to the web site.
What should I do?
You do not need to use an alternative (i.e. bottled water) water supply. However, if you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor.
What does this mean?
This is not an immediate risk. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately.
Total organic carbon provides a medium for the formation of disinfection byproducts. These byproducts include trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs). Drinking water containing these byproducts in excess of the MCL over long periods of time may lead to adverse health effects, liver or kidney problems, or nervous system effects, and may lead to an increased risk of getting cancer. However, the levels for TTHMs and HAA5s were in compliance during this time frame.
Anyone with questions or who would like more information, can contact Michael Dominick 724-266-4847.