A number of legitimate questions have recently been asked as to whether the City of Piqua’s drinking water could become contaminated with lead as has happened in Flint, Michigan. To better understand the cause of Flint’s problem, it really boils down to officials in Flint made the decision to change water sources and failed to add anti-corrosive chemicals to the water to prevent deterioration of water distribution lines. As a result, the pipes deteriorated and released lead and other contaminants into the drinking water.
Below is a recent article written by our Water Treatment Division that explains our testing processes to ensure Piqua water is safe for all customers.
The ongoing water crisis in Flint Michigan with lead in the drinking water and the numerous reports of harmful algae across Ohio has brought a lot of fear and questions regarding water quality nationwide. The City of Piqua Water Treatment Plant follows strict EPA guidelines to ensure that the citizens of Piqua have safe drinking water.
The Ohio EPA requires the City to test for lead and copper every three years in our distribution system. Due to many years of being in compliance with EPA standards, our testing was reduced from yearly, to every two years, to what is now every three years. Should we ever fall out of compliance, we would be required to once again test more frequently.
Subsequently, 2015 was our year for testing. As required by the EPA, we collected 30 samples from different points throughout the city. These sites included homes with both lead and copper plumbing. All samples collected were once again well in compliance with EPA standards. In addition to this required testing, we also perform copper tests once a month on our finished water leaving the plant as well as one sample from our distribution system. These samples have always been within EPA standards as well.
In 2014, the City of Toledo reached a water crisis with the formation of a harmful algal bloom at their intakes to their water treatment plant. The water was deemed unsafe for consumption for approximately 72 hours. Upon hearing of this situation, the City of Piqua took it upon itself to become proactive in the testing for harmful algae in our reservoir system and the Great Miami River.
Since that time, Piqua has applied for and received grant money from the Ohio EPA for training and testing equipment so that we may do our own testing at the water treatment plant. Although not yet mandated by the EPA, last year we conducted weekly tests to ensure that we were not having harmful algal blooms in our waterways. At no time in 2015 did we detect any harmful algae in any of our three water sources.
The Ohio EPA is in the process of creating a monitoring schedule that will go in effect in 2017. With that schedule we will then be mandated to test for harmful algae as well as test for cyanotoxins. (Cyanotoxins are toxins that are produced from harmful algal blooms.) We will continue our own weekly testing in 2016 and then follow the guidelines as set forth by the EPA when they become active.
The new water treatment plant will incorporate granular activated carbon filters into the treatment process. These filters will greatly improve our treatment process as they will allow us to remove more organics and atrazine from the raw water. These filters have also been deemed by the EPA as the best and most reliable treatment process to remove cyanotoxins from the water.