DECATUR UTILITIES
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PO Box 2232
Decatur, AL 35609
 
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DU Statement Regarding WMEL Testing of Tennessee River Water

 

March 17, 2019

 

 

DU management recently became aware that the West Morgan East Lawrence Water and Sewer Authority (WMEL) conducted testing in February 2018 of Tennessee River water samples taken near the DU Water Treatment Plant. This testing was done as part of WMEL’s analysis of possible long-term solutions for reducing PFOA and PFOS levels beneath the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Health Advisory Limit of 70 parts-per-trillion (ppt).

 

Portions of this report call into question the level of PFOA and PFOS in the river near the point where DU’s water treatment plant takes water. It also questions the level of Disinfectant By-Products (DBPs) in DU’s water. DBPs occur when water remains in the distribution pipes for longer periods of time and/or while traveling for long distances.

 

DU has a number of very serious concerns and questions about the validity of these test results and we want to address both of these assertions.

 

First, all historical testing performed by DU in 2014 and 2017 and by one of our industrial customers 2018 have consistently shown levels of PFOS and PFOA at non-detectable or near non-detectable levels. The highest levels ever documented was a combined concentration of 5 ppt – far below the health advisory limit.

 

DU was not made aware of WMEL’s testing. We cannot verify any results since there is no supporting documentation of sampling protocols, quality control data, location where the samples were taken, or identification of the actual laboratory where the tests were performed.

 

For reference, one part per trillion is the equivalent of 1 part per trillion is the equivalent one square inch in 250 square miles OR one second in nearly 32,000 years OR one ounce in 7.5 billion gallons of water.

 

Second, DU has stringent processes in place to keep DBPs well below the maximum contamination limits mandated by the USEPA. These levels are kept low throughout the DU distribution system as well as at the points where our resale customers take their water supply from DU.

 

DU resale customers Northeast Morgan County Water and Sewer Authority (NMCWSA) and Hartselle Utilities (HU) have published DBP data in their Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) for each of the past two years showing that they maintain levels well below the USEPA compliance levels throughout their systems – despite also being a considerable distance from the DU WTP.

 

DU’s Water Treatment Plant has been recognized as optimized by the Drinking Water Branch of ADEM’s Safe Drinking Water Program meaning it has reached an optimized level of performance that is beyond the requirements established by the USEPA for five consecutive years. We expect to receive this award again for 2018.

 

DU takes great pride in the quality of water provided to our retail and resale customers and we want to ensure all customers they can have great confidence in its safety.

 

A copy of DU’s current and past CCRs are available on the DU website at www.decaturutilities.com/water.

 

If you have any questions regarding this, or any information that might appear in ensuing media reports, please don’t hesitate to call us at 256-552-1444.