The Parkersburg News & Sentinel (West Virginia)
June 23, 2005
Wood County water quality reports OK
By EVAN BEVINS
PARKERSBURG - Drinking water in Wood County met federal and state
safety standards in 2004, according to reports from area utilities.
Water quality reports from Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown
and the Claywood Park, Lubeck, Mineral Wells and Union Williams
public service districts showed water contaminants below the maximum
limits established by state and federal authorities.
"We've got safe water," Parkersburg Utility Manager
Clarence Cox said.
According to the reports, which are either mailed to customers
or published in the newspaper and available at the utility offices,
all water, including bottled water, contains at least small amounts
of some contaminants. Federal and state regulations provide limits,
controls and treatment practices to minimize the materials and
their effects on people's health.
"All water has some level of minerals and that sort of thing,"
Parkersburg violated one state monitoring regulation by failing
to test the chlorine residue in the distribution system one day
in June 2004. According to the report, this was the result of
a miscommunication and the problem has since been corrected.
The utility's water constantly shows a sodium level of 30 milligrams
per liter, above the recommended level of 20 milligrams per liter.
This is because of the nature of the water and generally should
cause no problems, Cox said. Still, people on low-sodium or sodium-free
diets should be aware of this, he said.
"We recommend they discuss the matter with their physician
and see if it is a problem, if they should take any kind of precautions,"
Cox said the utility is not required to
perform annual tests for ammonium perfluorooctanoate, also known
as C8, used by DuPont in the manufacturing process for Teflon.
Frozen-food maker Luigino's recently cited
potential C8 contamination as the reason it nixed plans to build
a factory in Parkersburg in 2003. Luigino's has sued the West
Virginia Economic Development Authority, saying it should have
notified the company of a class-action lawsuit against DuPont
by area residents claiming their health had been harmed by the
discharge of C8 into local water supplies. DuPont maintains the
detergent-like substance poses no threat to humans.
The customers in the lawsuit do not receive
their water from Parkersburg. When the city's wells were tested,
C8 was found only in one, Cox said.
"Although it could be detected in
one of the five wells, there was not enough of it to even measure,"
Although it is an unregulated contaminant,
the Lubeck Public Service District did test for C8. Lubeck
customers were among members of the lawsuit's plaintiff class
and the district was a co-defendant before reaching a settlement
in 2003. The overall settlement of the case this year requires
DuPont to provide a water filtration system to reduce the C8 levels
in the water of Lubeck and five other utilities in West Virginia
Lubeck's water quality report says C8 was
detected in the water at a level of 0.464 parts per billion. The
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has established
150 ppb as a safe level of C8 in drinking water.
The district showed asbestos levels slightly higher than the
recommended limit, 8.98 million fibers per liter compared to 7
million fibers per liter. However, asbestos levels in water are
not regulated by the state and the findings did not constitute
"The original system that was put in had asbestos (in the)
piping," said Jim Cox, the Lubeck district manager and Clarence
Cox's brother. "What probably happened is we've had a break
in the pipes some place. A combination of the break or our repairing
of the break is likely what caused that (contamination)."
Jim Cox said the asbestos level on the report is an average that
varies depending on when the test was taken. Hopefully, the material
is flushed out of the system soon after a break, he said.
"We're keeping an eye on it," he said.
New and repaired pipes are made of plastic and do not contain
asbestos, Jim Cox said.
The water quality report for the Central Boaz Public Service
District is expected to be completed next week.