EPA: Home Drinking Water Filtration Fact Sheet

Photo via http://wholehousewatersystem.com
Photo via http://wholehousewatersystem.com

Click here to read the fact sheet. Here’s an excerpt:

Home Water Treatment Facts

Americans spend billions of dollars each year on home water treatment units.According to theWater Quality Association, more than four out of 10 Americans use a home water treatment unit.These units range from simple pitchers costing less than $20 to sophisticated reverse osmosis units costing hundreds of dollars.

Some people use a home water treatment unit to improve the taste of their tap water. Others treat their water because of health concerns.While EPA does not endorse specific units, the Agency does set and enforce national standards for the tap water provided by public water systems.

Drinking water can reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants.As long as those contaminants are at levels no higher than EPA standards, the water is considered safe to drink for healthy people. People with severely weakened immune systems or other specific health conditions, or those concerned about specific contaminants present in local drinking water, may wish to further treat their water at home or purchase high quality bottled water.

Before purchasing a home water treatment unit, consider local water quality, cost and maintenance of the unit, product performance, and certifications to make sure that the unit will meet your needs.

City of Rifle bans outdoor watering

Rifle Gap Reservoir via the Applegate Group
Rifle Gap Reservoir via the Applegate Group

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Erin McIntyre):

Problems with the city of Rifle’s water treatment system have led officials to ban outdoor watering for at least the next few days.

The announcement came in the middle of the first heat wave of summer, with 90-degree highs forecast through Tuesday by the National Weather Service.

The city asked its 9,700 customers to curb their water use as much as possible, and prohibited any outdoor use of water, forcing businesses such as car washes to shut down until the problem is fixed.

Utilities Director Jim Miller said Rifle law enforcement officers were tasked with reminding residents not to water outdoors, temporarily policing water use.

Though residents with wells or irrigation water from ditches were not included in the ban, use of potable drinking water from the municipal system is prohibited until further notice. Residents were notified to stop watering outside with a reverse 911 phone call.

The problems started on June 1, when a supply line that provided water from the Colorado River to the main pump station broke. The 14-inch water line, which runs under railroad tracks and a state highway, had a major leak that was resolved by the following morning, Miller said.

But what transpired was a bigger problem — the initial leak put stress on the pump station that brings the water from the supply line to the Graham Mesa treatment plant, and all of the check valves broke, causing the malfunction.

Though the city has a second, smaller treatment plant and pump station on Beaver Creek, located on Taughenbaugh Mesa, its capacity provides only roughly 10 percent of what the system demands, Miller said.

Right now officials are trying to resolve the situation by hooking up a temporary pumping system to feed the Graham Mesa treatment plant.

Miller encouraged residents to conserve water indoors as well as refraining from watering outside.

“Everyone should curb their water use,” he said. “People need to take this seriously because it’s what delivers water to most of the city of Rifle.”

Residents will be notified when the watering restrictions have been lifted, on the city’s website (http://www.rifleco.org) and via reverse 911 phone calls, Miller said.

Elevated lead levels found in Berthoud water — The Fort Collins Coloradoan

From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Jacy Marmaduke):

About a year after tests revealed elevated levels of lead in the town of Berthoud’s drinking water, another round of tests revealed similar results.

The town issued a notice to residents Wednesday that five of 40 samples recently tested for elevated lead levels. Town representatives did not immediately respond to a Coloradoan request for more information about the test results.

Berthoud’s drinking water system has struggled to meet the regulatory standard for lead in drinking water since at least 2014, records obtained by the Coloradoan show. In 2014, the water system had levels double the federal standard of 15 parts of lead per billion parts of water.

In 2015, another round of tests yielded the same result. The town’s water system serves about 5,400 people.

The 15 parts per billion value is a regulatory standard, not a public health standard. [ed. emphasis mine] Lead exposure can cause serious damage to the brain and kidneys and is especially dangerous for infants, young children and pregnant women…

Berthoud is far from the only Colorado community to struggle with elevated lead levels in its drinking water. Nineteen of Colorado’s 64 counties yielded at least one drinking water test result with 15 ppb or more of lead between 2012 and 2015. The water systems that met or exceeded the action level for lead during that time period serve about 295,000 people, or 5.5 percent of the state’s population.

Berthoud’s elevated lead levels likely originated from lead in plumbing fixtures, according to a town press release. Town leaders are working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to develop a corrosion control treatment program to implement soon, the release said.

The town is also updating its material survey to ensure that drinking water samples are being taken at the sites with the highest risk — namely, homes built between 1982 and 1986, when plumbing often contained lead. The town is sending letters to about 260 homes that fit that criterion to see if they’d be interested in becoming part of the drinking water sampling pool.

Per state regulations, Berthoud must collect 40 drinking water samples every six months and submit them for testing.

Brass faucets, fittings and valves advertised as “lead-free” can contain up to 8 percent lead, the press release cautioned, advising Berthoud residents to opt for fixtures certified by the National Sanitation Foundation instead.

Get the lead out

The release from the town of Berthoud offers advice for residents worried about lead in their drinking water:

1. Run your water to flush out lead. If it hasn’t been used for several hours, run the cold water tap until the temperature is noticeably colder.

2. Always use cold water for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula. Never cook with or drink water from the hot water tap and don’t use it to make baby formula.

3. Boiling water won’t reduce lead.

4. Periodically remove and clean the faucet’s strainer or aerator. While it’s removed, run the water to remove debris.

5. Consider investing in a home water treatment device or alternative water source. When purchasing a water treatment device, make sure it is certified under Standard 53 by NSF International to remove lead. Contact NSF at 1-800-NSF-8010, or visit the Water Quality Association’s website at http://www.wqa.org.

6. Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead. Brass faucets, fittings and valves, including those advertised as “lead- free,” may leach lead into drinking water. The NSF website at http://www.nsf.org has more information on lead-containing plumbing fixtures. You should use only lead-certified contractors.

7. Have a licensed electrician check your wiring. If grounding wires from the electrical system are attached to your pipes, corrosion may be greater. Check with a licensed electrician or your local electric code to determine if your wiring can be grounded elsewhere. Don’t try to change the wiring yourself because improper grounding can cause electrical shock and fire hazards.

8. Parents should consult with a medical professional for advice about whether to have their child’s blood tested for lead.

Residents who want to be included in the town’s list of sampling sites can contact its water department at 970-532-2393. If your home isn’t a high-risk site but you would like to test your water, the town suggests these nearby labs:

Colorado Analytical

240 South Main Street, Brighton, Colorado

303-659-2313

ACCUTEST Laboratories

4036 Youngfield Street, Wheat Ridge, Colorado

303-426-6021

Granby breaks ground on water plant — the Sky-Hi Daily News

Granby via UncoverColorado.com
Granby via UncoverColorado.com

From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Lance Maggart):

Granby’s long awaited water treatment plant broke ground this week. Officials from the Town, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and representatives of the various organizations that helped bring the project to fruition were on hand early Tuesday afternoon for the formal ground breaking ceremony…

Plans to develop the new Granby Water Treatment Plant were sparked in 2013 when tests on water wells in the SSA, south of the Fraser River, indicated that one of the three wells the Town uses to supply water for the SSA was being contaminated by ground water. The well in question was shut off at that time and Granby began reviewing options for upgrading the Town’s SSA water supply. Options included drilling new wells and building a treatment plant.

“In the end they (the Board of Trustees) determined the best choice for the immediate and long term for the water needs of the entire South Service Area would be to build a treatment facility,” said Granby Town Manager Wally Baird.

The rough price tag for the new plant is $6 million. Granby has received a $2 million grant from DOLA to apply to the project and an additional $1 million from the SilverCreek Water and Sanitation District, which is served by the SSA. The Town is also putting in $1.5 million. The $1.5 million the Town is applying to the project is derived from funds Granby received from the Granby/SilverCreek Water and Wastewater Authority after the authority was dissolved last year.

The Town is borrowing the remainder of the $6 million price tag, roughly $1.5 million, in the form of a direct loan. Baird explained the loan is analogous to a letter of credit and allows the Town to pay back only those funds which are spent on the project.

Freeport-McMoRan, the company that operates the Henderson Mill and Mine Complex in Grand and Clear Creek Counties, also provided the Town of Granby with a $20,000 grant that was used to mobilize contractors early on during the project and get construction moving forward.

Velocity Constructors is overseeing the project. The new water treatment plant will be contained within a single building, roughly 13,000 square feet, that will hold the treatment facility, offices for the SSA water operators and a garage area for equipment storage.

Baird said workmen began unloading foundation forms this week at the job site and he expects concrete pouring to begin relatively soon, after fears of late spring freezes subside. Along with the physical construction of the treatment plant’s building workers will also be required to install pipelines from the SSA’s three wells to the plant and connect the entire system to outflow pipes that distribute water to the surrounding area.

After construction is complete the well that was previously shut off due to contamination from ground water will be brought back online and its water will be filtered through the treatment plant. Officials expect the new water treatment plant to have a lifespan of 50 years or more.

The Town’s water users in the SSA can expect to see a slight uptick in their water bills. Baird estimated residents of the SSA would see an increase of about $52 in fees over the course of the entire year, which goes to helping pay back the loan used to complete the project. The rate changes will only apply to the SSA and not the North Service Area (NSA), north of the Fraser River.

The new plant will utilize a semi-permeable membrane to treat the well water that goes through the plant. The filter, which functions vaguely similar to a reverse osmosis system, utilizes the semi-permeable membrane to remove almost everything from the water besides water molecules.

CMC Edwards: May 16 State of the River Public Meeting

Eagle River
Eagle River

From the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District (Click through for the agenda):

Eagle River Water & Sanitation District, in partnership with the Colorado River District and the Eagle River Watershed Council, is hosting the Eagle River Valley State of the River community meeting, Monday, May 16, at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards.

All members of the public are invited to hear about issues that affect Gore Creek, the Eagle River, the Colorado River, Western Colorado’s changing climate, local water supply, and streamflow and runoff projections. A reception with food and soft drinks will be held at 5:15 p.m., with presentations scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

For more information, contact Diane Johnson, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, at 970-477-5457.

Erie refinancing water, wastewater debt to save town funds — Broomfield Enterprise

Squeezing money
Squeezing money

From The Broomfield Enterprise (Anthony Hahn):

Anticipated growth has been largely responsible for Erie’s debt, the highest among the east Boulder County communities, which also include Lafayette, Louisville and Superior.

In a series of decisions made by former trustees in an effort to grow the population, the town accumulated roughly $100 million in bonded debt between 2004 and 2010.

The bulk of that debt is sunk into water and wastewater infrastructure and treatment facilities, taken on in installments over the past 11 years, a period that also has seen Erie leaders repeatedly commit to residential development.

Now, the town is trying to cut down on that margin.

During Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting, council members approved an ordinance authorizing the issuance and sale of the town’s wastewater enterprise revenue refunding bonds in the approximate amount of $17.8 million.

Erie is refunding certain Wastewater Revenue Bonds, issued to finance the construction of the North Water Reclamation Facility in order to reduce the interest costs of its revenue bonds.

The refinancing is projected to save the town roughly $1.9 million in interest costs over the life of the bonds, a savings of approximately 6 percent. Furthermore, annual debt service savings are projected to range from $119,000 to $226,000…

The majority of debt in the town of about 22,000 is related to water and wastewater projects needed to accommodate a projected build-out population of 65,526 by 2055, according to the town’s 2005 Comprehensive Plan.

“Town boards embarked on a program to plan for, then encourage, then accommodate all that growth,” Krieger said last year. “Our specific challenge now is to manage our resources and services and retire our debt, which we’re doing. Second, we need to diversify our revenue base.”

The town might be growing at a slower pace than anticipated by previous officials, but Erie’s population still jumped 79 percent from 2000 to 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In anticipation of the population boom, Erie acquired about $76.4 million in debt for water-related bonds — about 78 percent of the town’s total debt.

Despite concerns early on about Erie’s debt, officials have said the town’s finances were strong following the trustees’ review of the 2016 budget proposal…

“The fact is that the town is rather effectively servicing our debt and three times in the last year Moody’s and S&P increased our credit rating,” [Diehl] said. “They’ve done so in recognition of our efforts to manage our finances and as an indication that the town’s financial outlook is strong.”

Thousands of #Colorado Springs Utilities customers getting water quality notice

Colorado Springs circa 1910 via GhostDepot.com
Colorado Springs circa 1910 via GhostDepot.com

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Billie Stanton Anleu):

About 47,000 Colorado Springs Utilities customers are being notified that a water quality standard has been exceeded at the Fountain Valley Authority’s water treatment plant.

Those customers get a blend of water from Utilities and the FVA, but the exceedance of Total Organic Carbon does not pose a health threat, Utilities advises.

Leaves, sticks, dirt and other substances washed into the Pueblo Reservoir, where the FVA gets its water, during heavy rains over the past two years.

The excessive levels of TOC occurred temporarily in the first quarter of 2016, Utilities reports. Although the TOC exceeded standards, it “does not pose an immediate health risk and is not an emergency,” Utilities said in a news release.

A standard is set for TOC because it can lead to formation of disinfection byproducts, which can have adverse health effects. Those byproducts include trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids.

Both byproducts are below drinking water standards and thus pose no health risks, Utilities reports.

The FVA also supplies water to Security, Widefield, Stratmoor Hills and Fountain through their water districts, which are responsible for alerting their customers.