East Providence Public Works issues release on drinking water

water tower

EAST PROVIDENCE — In accordance with mandates set forth by the State Department of Health, the East Providence Public Works Department has issued the following announcement on the current status of the city’s drinking water.

Residents should be aware this is not an emergency situation, rather a periodic update. Residents can continue to drink and bathe as usual, however they are also urged to read the release thoroughly.

The notice is in the mail and will be sent to all customers in the city over the next several days.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR DRINKING WATER
City of East Providence
PWS#l61561tl

The City of East Providence public water system has levels of Total Trihalometlianes (TTHMs) above drinking water standards. TTHMS are a group of volatile organic compounds (Chloroform, Bromoform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibroinochloromethane) which form with time when the natural organics in water react with chlorine as it breaks down.

Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard. Although this is not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened, what you should do, and what we are doing to correct the situation. The federal and state regulations recently changed to be more protective of public health and this is the first TTHM violation in the City’s water system. It is likely the violation may occur again in the future until such time the City completes its proposed water system improvements. The City purchases its water solely from Providence Water and is required by the Rhode Island Department of Health to add chlorine to the water received from Providence Water in order to maintain a chlorine residual of 0.2 mg/l. The City of East Providence remains responsible for the water quality that it provides to its customers.

The City of East Providence public water system, which receives its water from Providence Water, routinely tests at various sites within the distribution system for disinfectant byproducts (DBPS). EPA sets standards for controlling the levels of disinfectants and DBPs in drinking water, including total trihalomethanes (TTHMs). The average results of tests taken during the last four quarters show that our system exceeded the standard, or maximum contaminant level (MCL), for TTHMs at one location. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard for TTHMS is 80 ppb, parts per billion, for a locational running annual average. East Providence water system’s locational average level of TTHMs for the last four quarters (April l, 2013 to March 3 1, 2014) is 82 ppb.

WHAT SHOULD I DO?
There are no actions that you need to take at this time. You do not need to use an alternate (i.e. bottled) water supply. You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective action. However, if you have specific health concerns consult your doctor.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
This is flan emergency or immediate risk. if it had been, you would have been notified immediately.

Many water systems treat water with a chemical disinfectant, such as chlorine, in order to inactivate pathogens that cause disease. While disinfectants are effective in controlling many harmful microorganisms, they react with organic and inorganic matter in the water to form DBPs, some of which pose health risks at certain levels. Some people who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer. The public health benefits of chlorine disinfection practices are significant and well recognized. Consequently, one of the most complex questions facing water supply professionals is how to reduce risks from disinfectants and DBPs while providing increased protection against microbial contaminants.

WHAT IS BEING DONE?
We are working to minimize the formation of TTHMS while ensuring an adequate level of disinfection to protect customers from exposure to bacteria. Working with an engineering firm we have identified improvements needed to correct the issue.
Recommended improvements to the water system include upgrades to distribution mains, a new storage tank, treatment system, and transmission main.

For more information, please contact Stephen Coutu, Public Works Director or James Marvel, Water Superintendent at (401) 435-7741 or in writing to, East Providence Water Utilities Division, 60 Commercial Way, East Providence, RI 02914. For general information on TTHMs, you may also call the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 or visit the EPA
website at http://www.cpa.gov/safewater.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have receive this notice directly (for example people in apartments, nursing homes, schools and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

This notice is being sent to you by: East Providence Water Utilities Division PWS# R1161 5610.

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One Comment;

  1. Tony Ruben said:

    So the average result is over the guidelines by 2 parts per billion? Do you realize how miniscule that is? Let me help you put that into context. One billion seconds is 31.7 years. So, 2 parts per billion is 2 seconds out of 31.7 years. And they want us to spend 19 million dollars on this when there may be other options? I think this needs further study.
    The numbers were over the limit at ONE location according to the report. How about looking at that first before you start replacing everything? If one light is out on a car, you don’t fix it by replacing the alternator and the battery.

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