Steve Fidel | March 08, 2012 | Desert News | Shared as an education material
LEHI — The city issued a drinking water alert Thursday after test results showed unsafe levels of the metal thallium in a well that serves the Traverse Mountain area.
Lehi’s water department said the situation did not constitute an emergency, and the city was using a different culinary water source to serve the Traverse Mountain area.
“We are flushing the pipes and aggressively sampling to assure the purity of your drinking water,” the city bulletin states.
“You do not need to use an alternative water supply,” the bulletin advises. “However, if you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor.”
The city has not received any health complaints related to the water problem, said Lee Barnes, Lehi’s water and wastewater superintendent.
The Environmental Protection Agency has found that elevated levels of thallium can cause gastrointestinal irritation and peripheral neuropathy, a nerve function disorder. EPA and state standards for acceptable thallium levels in culinary water is 2 parts per billion for long-term exposure and 7 parts per billion for exposures of one to 10 days.
Tests from the Oak Hollow Well tested in the 2 to 6 parts per billion range as recently as March 2, Barnes said.
Flushing the affected piping is expected to take another week or two, Barnes said. A long-term plan for the area’s water supply involves blending water from the affected well with water from other sources so it meets drinking water standards.