SLO water exceeds chemical compound limit

July 6, 2015

tap-waterA chemical compound that is a by-product of chlorine has exceeded the drinking water safety limit in at least some San Luis Obispo households.

City water monitors recently discovered that the amount of trihalomethanes in a water supply sample exceeded the maximum containment level (MCL), according to a notice sent to many residents. The water sample came from a location on Johnson Avenue and Southwood Drive during the second quarter of 2015.

Trihalomethanes often form when chlorine is used to disinfect drinking water. The city treats its drinking water with chlorine, according to annual water quality reports.

Because the water levels in local reservoirs have dropped, the city’s water supply is requiring a higher amount of chlorine to kill algae and other toxins, said Aaron Floyd, SLO’s deputy director of water.

In addition, water conservation efforts have led to a 25 percent reduction in San Luis Obispo water usage in May 2015 compared to May 2014. The reduction also means water is in the pipeline longer which promotes an increase in trihalomethane levels, Floyd added.

The city’s MCL for trihalomethanes is 80 parts per billion, according to the notice. Monitors detected 82.1 parts per billion in the water sample the average numbers over the past quarter.

The utilities department notice states the excessive amount of trihalomethane does not pose an immediate risk, and residents do not need to use an alternative water supply. However, it says long-term exposure to excessive trihalomethanes can cause health problems.

“Some people who drink water containing total tirihalomethanes in excess of the MCL over many years may experience liver, kidney or central nervous system problems, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer,” the notice states.

The city says it is working with the state water board to further evaluate the water supply and research options to correct the problem.


Loading...

10 Comments

  1. r0y says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this was discovered by a third-party – probably farmed out from the city, as it’s too expensive to pay their employees AND require they do work.

    Otherwise, I somehow doubt we’d have heard about it.

    Then again, I’m pessimistic when it comes to government activities.

    (8) 16 Total Votes - 12 up - 4 down
  2. hijinks says:

    This whole thing is crazy. First of all, trihalomethanes are a known carcinogen, period, no beating around the bush the way the city did in its notice to users. I suppose that also makes them a Prop. 65 problem.

    But the big question is why are there trihalomethanes in our water at all? Years ago the city gave up chlorination of water, a stone-age purification technology, specifically to eliminate trihalomethanes, and went to an ozone purification process, which purifies water without chlorine. So why are we back to chlorine? Did they quietly do a bait and switch on us?

    As for drought affecting the length of time water is in pipes being a factor, that’s total bs. The chemical reaction between organic matter and chlorine that creates trihalomethanes happens in water treatment, not in pipe transport.

    This is just one more indication the present council and Katie Lichtig are incompetent to run a well-functioning city.

    (14) 20 Total Votes - 17 up - 3 down
  3. Jorge Estrada says:

    Just wait until SLO gets busted for stealing the Salinas River. Next SLO will exceed the allowable air bubbles, all air.

    (1) 11 Total Votes - 6 up - 5 down
  4. womanwhohasbeenthere says:

    Nice. We just got a huge water rate increase and now we learn these clowns can’t even filter the water properly. Guess we will need to spend lots of money to fix this and surprise! – probably a new surcharge will show up. This city can’t get anything right! But wait there’s more. Now the city wants to be your electricity provider. Please remember this water fail when that comes up.

    (19) 29 Total Votes - 24 up - 5 down
  5. Pelican1 says:

    And this is WHY we need to pay the high salaries in order to acquire and keep the BEST employees that in turn take care of the good citizens of the city.

    (14) 34 Total Votes - 24 up - 10 down
    • Pelican1 says:

      For those who don’t recognize a bit of sarcasm, as I continue to lampoon the city “officials” and their ridiculous salaries, I won’t always let everyone know ahead of time by running the sarcastic flag up the proverbial flagpole.
      Oh…such buffoonery!

      (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
  6. LameCommenter says:

    Time to buy a GAC filter pitcher like a Brita. Since a primary drinking water trihalomethane is formaldehyde, I’d like to see the contaminant level kept low. Years ago the answer was a different disinfector like chloramine (some ammonia in it) to lower the instance of these DBP’s (disinfection by-products). We pay these city rocket scientists huge salaries to pro-actively handle the consequences of a drought. We are entitled to expect good results.

    (14) 24 Total Votes - 19 up - 5 down
    • Richnslo says:

      A Brita pitcher filter will not remove THMs. A Brita faucet filter will remove about 95%, according to their website.

      (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
      • Richnslo says:

        And you’ll also need a filter on your shower head to avoid breathing the vapors.

        (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  7. Rich in MB says:

    But don’t worry…your rental house will have a yearly inspection.
    Your neighbor can’t bombard you with offensive orders.
    Your Hotel will charge you an extra Tax to promote tourism.
    And your City officials will get nice big fat pay increases.

    Can’t drink the water?
    Try another Glass of Leftist KoolAid….all is well until we become Greece and it’s too late.

    (24) 54 Total Votes - 39 up - 15 down

Comments are closed.