Montpelier, OH – Concerns of potential contaminants in public drinking water has become a huge concern over the past several months in surrounding areas, so let’s discuss a few facts of just how it actually works within the Village of Montpelier.
Of course, the hottest topic right now is lead contaminants in public drinking water. Based on our population in Montpelier, the EPA, as well as the SDWA (Safe Drinking Water Act), has set a standard requiring us to test 20 samples from 20 separate locations throughout our water distribution system. The samples are taken from a tap at different households, businesses, and locations that the EPA suggested and approved in what is called our “Sample Siting Plan”. These locations are deemed to be where the highest level of contaminant concentrate could be found between June 1st and September 30th, the hottest months of the year, therefore setting us up for the worse possible scenario. After we have collected 20 individual samples we send them to an advanced second party laboratory in Northwood, Ohio to be tested. These results are then sent back to us where we review them thoroughly, and provide this information to our community.
It is our duty at the Montpelier Water Treatment Plant to provide our community with relevant information about our public drinking water. The key source that holds all of the information about our water is on our Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). A CCR is an annual water quality report we provide to our community as a requirement from the EPA. You will receive a notification on how to access this on your public utilities bill before July 1st of the current year containing all results from the previous year. Those who do not receive a public utilities bill, will receive a paper door hanger displaying information on how to access the CCR as well. Simply defined, at any moment you can attend our village website, click on the Water Treatment tab, and click on the tab at the top of the page that displays the wording of our consumer confidence report.
The SDWA along with the EPA, has set strict laws and guidelines on allowable amounts of contaminants in drinking water called Maximum Contaminate Level’s (MCL’s). All of these MCL’s are located on the CCR, and the EPA’s website, made available for public knowledge. Currently the MCL for lead in drinking water is set at 15 micrograms per liter (15ug/L), or 0.015 milligrams per liter (0.015mg/L). Within the Village of Montpelier, we are pleased to announce that our most recent reported level was only 4.0ug/L, (0.004mg/l), which was tested at a residence containing a lead water service entering the building, at a tap that was unused for 8 hours.
You’re probably wondering how there is even a traceable amount of lead in the water to begin with. The most common cause of lead in your drinking water is caused from internal plumbing. The SDWA established Section 1417 prohibiting the use of lead materials for drinking water plumbing after June 1986. The definition for “lead free” as a weighted average of 0.25% lead calculated across the wetted surfaces of a pipe, pipe fitting, plumbing fitting, and fixture and 0.2% lead for solder and flux. The Act also provides a methodology for calculating the weighted average of wetted surfaces. This means residences and establishments created before June 1986 potentially contain lead plumbing.
How can you help? Replacing lead water service lines that enter your building/household with lead free material such as plastic water line or lead free copper would be a great start. Old brass fixtures that seem harmless aren’t something to look past either. Lead was a leading ingredient used in old brass that eventually leach out and into your drinking water. With new technology and science, the production of Lead-Free Brass is on the market, and must now be used in all plumbing applications. By replacing those old fittings and faucets you are greatly reducing the potential health risks of lead contaminants. If you are unsure of plumbing quality, by just simply running your water for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using it, you can greatly reduce any source of contaminants.
Here is how we help. In our Montpelier Water Treatment Plant Laboratory we perform a water stability test every week of the year for our quality assurance program. By doing this test it shows us exactly how aggressive, stable, or scale forming our potable drinking water is. An aggressive quality of water has the potential to allow more lead to leach from plumbing into the drinking water. We strive to achieve a stable, to slightly scale forming water quality. Although we are not required to test this weekly, we do it to ensure the highest quality of water for our consumers, with the lowest potential health risks. We are a groundwater plant using wells for our source of water, which are also tested on a weekly basis to ensure excellent quality, and free of any health related risks. Another highly related form to reduce risks are replacing any known water services connected to water mains from the owner’s water meter that contain lead. Our water distribution crew is constantly monitoring and developing new strategies to help improve water quality, and reduce potential health hazards. Instead of becoming upset due to a trench in the road, or an unsettled trench in your yard, these guys deserve a thank you for preventing health related risks that have the potential to affect you.
In closing, please be rest assured that all employees within the Village of Montpelier do everything they can to be proactive in maintaining the best, and safest, drinking water quality on a daily basis. The Village of Montpelier has never had any water quality violations, and your licensed operators are dedicated to keep it that way. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have, and we will answer them to the greatest of our abilities. For more information on lead in drinking water you may contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline, or visit www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
Matthew J. Peters, Water Treatment Plant Supervisor
William C. Blakely, Water/Wastewater Superintendent