Portsmouth water meets federal standards

quakertower

PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth Water and Fire District’s annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) mailed to customers June 2 and 26 indicates that the District’s drinking water met or surpassed all federal standards in 2013.

The District does not own any water supplies, but purchases its regular water supply on a wholesale basis from the Newport Water Department and relies on the Stone Bridge Fire District in Tiverton for emergency water supply.

The CCR, which is required of all public water suppliers by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, summarizes the District’s water sources and provides information on regulated and unregulated contaminants in the water. The CCR also provides health information on drinking water, including bottled water, particularly for those people that may be immuno-compromised.

The CCR also provides health information about specific water quality issues and indicates that the District continues to experience high levels of Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs), which are a byproduct of drinking water chlorination and are a suspected carcinogen.

The CCR shows that in 2013 the District’s highest four-quarter running annual average TTHM level was 96.3 parts per billion (ppb), which is above the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level of 80.0 ppb. The range of TTHMs measured in the distribution system was 21.5 to 134 ppb.

TTHMs are an ongoing concern for the District, Newport Water and the Navy, as all three island water suppliers are distributing the same treated water. The CCR indicates that the City of Newport has awarded a design-build contract for the construction of a new Lawton Valley Treatment Plant in Portsmouth and improvements to the Station 1 Treatment Plant in Newport. The total project cost is $84 million.

Due to the challenging water quality of the City of Newport’s nine reservoirs, advanced water treatment processes are incorporated into the improvements at each plant in order to assure compliance with drinking water standards, particularly TTHM standards. The plants are scheduled to be operational before the end of 2014. All water users on the island will pay for these improvements through increased water rates.

Copies of the report are available at the District’s main office at 1944 East Main Road and the Portsmouth Free Public Library. The report is also available here.

Customers with questions on the report or about water quality in general are encouraged to call the District’s office at 683-2090.

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