Table of Contents
What are Trihalomethanes and what should we do?
Punta Gorda water is treated with chemicals to disinfect the water, which then produces by-products.
The disinfection of water with chlorine or bromine has eliminated many previous water-borne diseases, such as dysentery and cholera, which used to kill large numbers of people. One side effect of these treatments, however, can be the formation of disinfection by-products. These by-products are formed when decaying natural, organic matter in the water reacts with the chlorine or bromine used in disinfection. These can also be produced in swimming pools from the reaction of chlorine with sweat, skin particles, or urine.https://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-trihalomethanes.htm
These by-products consist of two major groups: Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids (HAA5s). Specifically, they are:
The 4 most common trihalomethanes are Chloroform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibromochloromethane, and Bromoform. The 5 regulated haloacetic acids are Chloroacetic acid, Dichloroacetic acid, Trichloroacetic acid, Bromoacetic acid, Dibromoacetic acid.https://www.hydroviv.com/blogs/water-smarts/disinfection-byproducts
The EPA strictly regulates these chemicals. Because Punta Gorda has exceeded the EPA limits, we received notification in the mail. We are exposed when drinking the water and also when showering. These volatile chemicals easily vaporize in the hot steam where they are inhaled and absorbed through the skin.
You can take several actions to reduce trihalomethanes in your tap water. Carbon water filters can help. Be sure to verify that your brand specifically addresses these chemicals. Trihalomethanes build up in plumbing as the residual chlorine continues to react with other dissolved solids. It’s a good idea to run the tap for a couple of minutes to flush out the pipes before use if you haven’t been home in a while. Boiling the water will also evaporate these volatile chemicals.
Text Of Official Notice
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Important Information About Your Drinking Water
The City of Punta Gorda Water Treatment System Has a level of Total Trihalomethanes which violates Standards
The Department of Environmental Protection requires disinfection of drinking water to inactivate possible pathogens, because the health benefits of disinfection far outweigh its risks. However, when used in the treatment of drinking water, some disinfectants combine with organic and inorganic matter present in the water to form chemicals called disinfection byproducts (DBPs). A number of DBPs such as Total Trihalomethanes CITHMs) and Haloacetic Acids (HAA5s) may be a health concern at certain levels of exposure.
The laboratory analyses results for the four most recent sets of consecutive quarterly samples for TTHMs collected on August 12, May 9, and February 12, 2019, and November 12, 2018, from the City of Punta Gorda public drinking water system, indicate a running annual average TTHM concentration of 82.9 micrograms per liter (ug/L) at the 601 Shreve Street location. Therefore, the Department has determined that this water system has generated a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) violation for TTHMs at this location, since Table 3 of Rule 62-550.310, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), identifies the MCL for TTHMs as 80 ug/L.
Some people who drink water containing Trihalomethanes in excess of the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.
WHAT SHOULD CUSTOMERS DO?
This is not an immediate risk, however, until the problem is corrected, any customers who are concerned about their exposure to TTHMs or HAA5s may wish to use alternative sources of water for ingestion, such as commercial bottled water, or water treated by an appropriate home water treatment device. Appropriate home water treatment devices are those certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) for reducing TTHMs and HAA5s in drinking water.
WHAT IS BEING DONE?
Samples for TTHMs are collected at four locations in our water distribution system that represent four sections of our system. Only one sample site was above the MCL for the quarterly averages. The elevated sample was collected at 601 Shreve Street in Punta Gorda. Water at this location serves the NW section of the water distribution system. The City of Punta Gorda has begun an aggressive flushing routine for this site and will be testing for the contaminants listed above on a weekly basis (rather than quarterly).
At the address listed above two of the previous quarterly samples tested for TTHMs were elevated causing the average of the sample sites to be above the MCL. The City immediately resampled the site both times and the results when averaged with the previous quarters passed and the TTHMs values were below the MCL.
The completion and operation of the Groundwater R.O. plant under construction will reduce by as much as 50% the total organics in the finished drinking water. The reduction of organics will reduce the potential for the formation of TTHM.
For more information please contact Brian Fuller at 941-639-2057 or you may contact Patty Baron of the Department of Environmental Protection at Patty.Baron@floridadep.gov, or call (239) 344-5615. Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly. You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.