Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Utilities' water quality notice cites teensy problem

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 1:23 PM

Water from Pueblo Reservoir has been affected by increased rains in the last few years. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Water from Pueblo Reservoir has been affected by increased rains in the last few years.
As required by state law, Colorado Springs Utilities will mail notices to about 47,000 of its roughly 200,000 water customers in coming weeks to notify them that the water quality standard level for Total Organic Carbon has been exceeded by water coming to the city via the Fountain Valley Authority treatment plant.

The plant is located on Ray Nixon Road in the vicinity of the Nixon power plant and treats water channeled via pipeline from Pueblo Reservoir.

Most of the customers affected reside in the south part of the city, says CSU spokesman Steve Berry via email.

The reason we say it's a teensy problem stems from the measurement. From the notice:
The FVA system is required to show that the amount of TOC in its treated water is less than 2.0 milligrams per liter (mg/L) calculated quarterly as a running annual average. The FVA’s first quarter of 2016 results showed that the TOC running annual average was 2.05 mg/L. 
Says Berry, "If you or a family member is immune suppressed due to illness or an organ transplant, they should consult with their medical team before drinking ANY tap or bottled water."

Here's more from the news release:
TOC originates from leaves, sticks, dirt, etc. TOC levels increased in Pueblo Reservoir (FVA water source) due to significant precipitation in 2014 and 2015 that transported more of this organic matter into the reservoir. While the FVA treatment plant – completed in the mid-1980s – is equipped to treat for TOC, the higher-than-normal TOC levels in the source water created a scenario that has temporarily exceeded the plant’s ability to meet the water quality standard in 1st Quarter 2016.

Although this exceedance does not pose an immediate health risk and is not an emergency, we are required by the State to send a notification to all potentially affected customers.

FVA, located south of Colorado Springs near the Ray Nixon Power Plant, is jointly owned and operated by Springs Utilities, Security Water and Sanitation District, Widefield Water and Sanitation District, Stratmoor Hills and the City of Fountain. The FVA system has a delivery capacity of 11 million gallons of water per day (MGD). In comparison, our Mesa Water Treatment Plant has a 50 MGD capacity and our Pine Valley Water Treatment Treatment Plant has a 92 MGD capacity.

Other partner agencies must notify their own customers of the TOC exceedance. Springs Utilities has asked these communities to only contact us if there is a concern about TOC and the treatment process. Springs Utilities is unable to address how partnering agencies operate their distribution systems.

Currently, the FVA is conducting extensive research on ways to further reduce TOC in the water both entering and leaving the treatment plant. 

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