CLEARWATER — The city Utilities Department is sending some customers a warning notice advising that traces of a cancer-causing agent were recently detected in drinking water.
Due to the potential adverse effects on human health, the notice is required to inform customers of a slight elevated level of a carcinogen called trihalomethane, or TTHM.
According to the notice, TTHMa were found during a routine check of a monitoring site in the Coachman Ridge Subdivision, located west of U.S. 19 near Sunset Point.
Although the city officials could not immediately verify how many customers received the notice, according to the Pinellas County Property Appraiser, there are approximately 255 homes in that subdivision.
Tests conducted on Nov. 4 of a water sample taken at the Coachman Ridge site barely exceeded the contamination level. The standard for TTHMs is 80 parts per billion. The analysis determined 81 parts per billion, which officials say is not an emergency.
City public communication director Joelle Castelli said the water is “safe to drink.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates drinking two liters of water containing 100 parts per billion of TTHMs every day for 70 years could result in three extra cases of cancer for every 10,000 people, which officials considered a slight risk.
In addition to cancer, some who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the maximum contaminant level over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous systems, according to the EPA.
The Coachman Ridge subdivision is supplied water from a water treatment plant located on State Road 580. It produces water blended with local groundwater and water purchased through Pinellas County. The treatment of the locally produced groundwater requires disinfection with chlorine sufficient to meet the requirements. The addition of chlorine to the raw water containing naturally occurring organics results in the formation of TTHMs.
The city conducts monthly tests for bacteria in the distribution system and also conducts tests at monitoring sites, like in the Coachman Ridge subdivision, each quarter for the presence of byproducts related to the disinfection process.
The state of Florida, as well as many other states, requires the use of a disinfectant to minimize the possibility of bacterial contamination in the drinking water distribution system.
City utility workers immediately initiated a plant operations review and flushed the water distribution system in attempts to lower the TTHM levels and bring. The city will plans to retain a registered engineering consultant, who could offer alternative treatments to minimize bacterial contamination.
In addition to the Coachman Ridge monitoring site, the other seven sites are: 1985 Byram Drive, 1951 Edgewater Drive, 710 Maple St., 2456 Moore Haven Drive, 3371 Windchime Drive, 3387 Arlie Ave. and 2420 Sabre Ct.
For information, contact Greg Turman, Public Utilities Coordinator, at (727) 462-6326 or at email@example.com.
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