- Cherokee County Water & Sewerage Authority is paying close attention to what unfolded in Flint, Michigan, and our thoughts are with all those who are struggling without access to safe and reliable water in their homes. In North America, no one should have to question the safety of water at the tap.
- Flint underscores that our first job is to protect the persons we serve. Those of us involved in managing, cleaning and delivering water share a solemn obligation to protect public health.
- We do not have first-hand information about what occurred in Flint, but this much seems clear: When Flint switched its water supply source, it did not take the required steps to manage water chemistry. The new water caused lead to leach from service lines and home plumbing – lead that ended up in water coming out of the taps.
- Lead does not come from the treatment plants and water mains; it comes from lead service lines running between the water main in the street and the home, and from plumbing inside the home. We do not have lead service lines in our system.
- This kind of incident is unlikely here. Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority collects samples for lead and copper analysis every three years as required by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, in accordance with federal rules. Because lead and copper enter drinking water primarily through plumbing materials used in individual homes, the US Environmental Protection Agency requires systems to monitor drinking water at customer taps. If lead concentrations exceed an action level of 15 ppb or if copper concentrations exceed an action level of 1.3 ppm in more than 10% of customer taps sampled, the system must undertake a number of additional actions to control corrosion.
Here are the most recent lead and copper results from CCWSA’s sampling:
Lead: 2.5 ppb / 90th percentile, (9/2015) Lead range: 0.00 ppb – 8.1 ppb (9/2015)
Copper: 0.83 ppm / 90th percentile (9/2015) Copper range: 0.00 ppm – 1.2ppm (9/2015)
Additionally CCWSA treats our drinking water with an orthophosphate to control corrosion within the water distribution system. The phosphate provides a layer of protection on the walls of the distribution pipes that decreases the potential corrosion of metals into the drinking water. CCWSA monitors corrosion within the water system through a corrosion coupon monitoring program. The program consists of mild steel discs that are placed throughout the distribution system and analyzed on a quarterly basis to determine the corrosion rate. Orthophosphate levels, along with the pH and alkalinity of CCWSA’s finished drinking water, are tested multiple times daily at our water production plant to maintain very high water quality in the distribution system.
- We are not content to simply comply with regulations. We observe the letter of the law and embrace the spirit of it.
- If you are a property owner, there are steps you can take to address potential risks from lead in water. Older brass faucets with lead content can be in newer homes. A certified plumber can check for lead solders in your internal pipes and look for fixtures containing lead.