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Although water quality was meeting or exceeding all federal and state standards, disinfection byproducts (DBPs) were a major concern of the community when Mayor Hamilton came into office in January of 2016. DBPs are the result of certain disinfectants, including chlorine, interacting with organic matter, such as leaves or algae from Lake Monroe. The maximum limits set by environmental regulatory agencies are based on annual moving averages for the system. Those never exceeded the limits, but individual sampling sites were above that threshold and the averages were outside the City of Bloomington Utilities’ (CBU) comfort zone. In fact, CBU had hit a threshold level twice between 2013 and 2015 that had triggered a requirement that the city submit an operational plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

Excessive levels of DBPs in drinking water have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, and short-term exposure can be an issue for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, pregnant women, infants, and those with compromised immune systems.

Believing that providing safe drinking water to all of our customers is mandatory, Mayor Hamilton set forth a plan to greatly decrease the amount of DBPs.

 

  • The city contracted with Lochmueller Group in addition to its current contract with Black and Veatch to have a second set of eyes on the issue. The cost of that agreement was less than $75,000.

  • The Utilities Department increased the pipe flushing program to improve and maintain water quality throughout the system.

  • The city increased staffing to improve infrastructure and moved from quarterly to monthly testing for DBPs.

  • Placed information on the DBPs and monthly testing results on “B Clear,” the City’s data portal.

 

Because of our great team at Utilities, DBP levels have been dramatically reduced to well under the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency and IDEM. In addition, CBU is in the middle of major upgrades of their water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure to assure top quality systems for us all for decades to come.

HAA5 Reduction 2015-2018

TTHM Rates 2015-2018

Disinfectant Byproduct Reduction Initiative Timeline