Is DWU monitoring for lead in our drinking water?
In 1991, EPA published a regulation to control lead and copper in drinking water. This regulation is known as the Lead and Copper Rule (also referred to as the LCR). The rule requires systems to monitor drinking water at customer taps. Additionally, our water wells are routinely monitored and must remain in compliance with the action level established by the EPA of 15 parts per billion (ppb). If lead concentrations exceed the action level at any well or in more than 10% of customer taps sampled, the system must undertake a number of additional actions to control corrosion. The results of our sampling can be found in our Water Quality Report at http://dwuinc.com/advisory-notices/dwu-water-quality-report/ – hard copies are distributed no later than July of each year and can also be obtained at our main office location.
Background on Flint
Recently, the situation in Flint Michigan has been dominating national headlines focusing on excessive levels of lead discovered in their drinking water. On January 16th, President Barack Obama declared a State of Emergency in Michigan to help with Flint’s ongoing water troubles. As part of the federal response, the EPA has established the Flint Safe Drinking Water Task Force and a website http://www.epa.gov/flint to assist in the crisis, work with local authorities, and inform the public. While the media has much to say on this subject, it can become difficult to separate fact from fiction. It is important to DWU that we keep our customers informed on how this crisis pertains to our community and make you aware of what we are doing to continue to provide safe drinking water to our customers.
The crisis in Flint was caused by two fundamental conditions- (1) change in drinking water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River, and (2) lack of proper corrosion control methods after switching to the new source. When a drinking water source is determined to be corrosive, the EPA requires water systems to apply corrosion control treatment to stabilize the water before it is distributed to customers. If not controlled, the corrosive water may cause lead used in older system plumbing to be released and introduced into the drinking water.
Does this Situation Apply to Destin?
Drinking Water Source
In Destin and most of the surrounding area, our sole drinking water source is groundwater from the Upper Floridan Aquifer- a deep underground limestone aquifer protected from surface water influences by a confining layer. Destin Water Users customers can rest assured that any lead detected in our system is naturally-occurring, and can be found in the soil. Due to the nature of our water source- it is sparsely found. During our last round of routine sampling, it was only detected in three of our six wells in very low levels ranging from 1.8ppb to 7.5ppb which is less than half of the allowable limit.
Corrosion Control Methods
No corrosion control treatment is required for our source water because it is not corrosive. The only treatment required for drinking water in Destin is a small dose of chlorine for disinfecting purposes as it travels through the water system to your tap.
DWU was established in 1963, after the time when lead was commonly used to seal joints in water distribution lines. Lead was not used in the construction of our water distribution mains and service connections.
Lead pipes and lead solder were commonly used in home construction until 1986. DWU has identified all homes built within our service area prior to that time and residential sampling is routinely performed at sites randomly selected from those locations and approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Should sampling indicate an exceedance at a customer’s home, DWU is required by law to provide notice to the affected resident.
DWU is monitoring our water supply for lead as required by state and federal regulations. We report our findings annually in our Water Quality Report and we are proud to report that lead in the water supply is not a threat to public health for the members of DWU.
For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s Web site at www.epa.gov/lead , call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD, or contact your health care provider.