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This annual report provides summary information from 2011 about your drinking water; where it comes from, how it is treated, what it contains, and how it compares to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) drinking water quality standards. Throughout the year samples were collected and analyzed for more than 100 different contaminants. The majority of the sample results showed no detectable contaminants, and the ones that did were all within EPA guidelines and are presented in the following tables. We are pleased to report that all EPA drinking water standards were met in 2011, and we have a current, unconditional license to operate our water system.
Source Water and Its Vulnerability
Westerville’s primary source of drinking water is surface water from Alum Creek. To augment the creek and provide an alternative ground water supply, two wells are used to provide water to the plant. Surface waters by their nature are susceptible to contamination from activities on the surrounding land, and therefore must be properly treated and constantly monitored. Land uses in the area around Alum Creek include a number of potential contaminate sources such as oil and gas wells, leaking underground storage tanks, gas stations, automotive repair shops, airports, landfills, salt and pesticide storage areas, pharmaceuticals, and road crossings. As a result, Alum Creek is classified as having a high susceptibility to contamination.
These potential contaminates can be minimized in Alum Creek by implementing measures to protect the creek. Measures being taken include the establishment of source water protection zoning regulations, a storm water management program, and the implementation of a water quality action plan by the Friends of Alum Creek and Tributaries (FACT) and the City. Through these efforts and your consideration in the use and disposal of chemicals,
How is my water treated?
The Westerville Water Treatment Plant, located at 312 West Main Street, operates twenty-four hours per day and is capable of treating 7.5 million gallons of water per day. A multiple step process is used to treat the source water to effectively meet drinking water standards and protect the public’s health.
The process begins with the addition of a coagulant (ferric chloride) to clarify the water. The water is then softened with the addition of lime and caustic soda to remove the minerals calcium and magnesium. Carbon dioxide is then added for pH adjustment followed by disinfection with chlorine. After disinfection the water is filtered through rapid sand filtration units. The final steps of the treatment process involve the addition of phosphate for corrosion control, fluoride for the prevention of tooth decay, and on an as-needed basis, activated carbon and potassium permanganate for taste and odor control.
Following treatment, the water is initially stored in an underground clearwell at the water plant before being pumped to the distribution system and the elevated storage tanks for your use. In the event of an emergency the water plant can continue to operate using a diesel-powered generator.
Primary Drinking Water Standards
Lead and Drinking Water
If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. Westerville is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. A list of laboratories certified in the State of Ohio to test for lead may be found at http://www.epa.ohio.gov/ddagw or by calling (614)-644- 2752. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
What Causes the Pink Stain on Bathroom Fixtures?
Additional Water Quality Data
The reddish-pink color frequently seen in bathrooms and on pets’ water bowls is caused by the growth of the bacterium Serratia marcesens. Serratia is very common in the environment and can be introduced into the house from soil, water, plants, insects, animals, and people. The bathroom provides a perfect environment, warm and moist, for bacteria to thrive.
The best solution to this problem is to continuously clean and dry the affected area to keep it free from bacteria. Chlorine based cleaners work best by disinfecting the area, but keep in mind that abrasive cleaners may scratch fixtures making them more susceptible to bacterial growth. Chlorine bleach can be used periodically to disinfect toilets. Sinks and bathtubs kept wiped down using a solution that contains chlorine will also help minimize its occurrence. Serratia will not survive in chlorinated drinking water.
Cross Connections & Backflow Prevention
A cross connection is a physical connection between a possible source of contamination and the drinking water system piping. If the pressure of the source of contamination is greater than the water system pressure, contaminated water may backflow into the drinking water system. Pressure drops in the public water system caused by water line breaks, pump failures, and fire fighting can also cause a backflow situation.
Homes with underground irrigation systems and most commercial buildings are required to have a backflow prevention device. This backflow device protects the public water system from any potentially contaminated water flowing back into the public system from the end user.
Backflow prevention devices are required to be tested annually by the owner. The testing must be done by an Ohio certified tester with a copy of the results forwarded to the Water Division. Further information and forms are available on the City website.
Lawn Watering Restrictions
Westerville operates under a odd/even lawn watering conservation program. If the last number in your street address is an odd number, water on the odd numbered days of the month, and even numbers, on even numbered days of the month. This conservation program applies only to lawns.
Some people who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems associated with the liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of cancer.
Special Health Information
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general public. Immunocompromised individuals such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, people who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA / Centers for Disease Control guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791).
The Westerville City Council, which governs the water system, meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 21 South State Street. For further information, contact Westerville Water Utility Manager Richard Lorenz at (614) 901-6770. You may also obtain information from the City’s website www.westerville.org.