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Mayor Hamilton Updates Community on Water Quality

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 6, 2016

For more information, please contact:

Mary Catherine Carmichael, Communications Director, City of Bloomington

812-349-2489, carmichm@bloomington.in.gov

Bloomington, Ind. - Mayor John Hamilton held a press conference today at the Monroe Water Treatment Plant to update residents on water issues he first discussed in January. "Safe drinking water is fundamental. And it is mandatory. I want to keep all of our water customers up to date on steps taken and underway to improve our water quality. This is a top priority for my administration," Hamilton said.

In January, in his initial public discussion about water testing results that Mayor Hamilton described as "too close for comfort" to the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended levels for disinfection byproducts (DBPs), he outlined several steps that would be taken by the City of Bloomington Utilities to address numbers that had been trending upward for years. Today he announced the following steps accomplished:

  • Increased DBP testing frequency from quarterly to monthly to provide more information to the public and more closely to monitor the levels of DBPs in the distribution system

  • Increased analytical methods and testing protocols in the plant to better monitor DBP levels and generation

  • Added monthly testing data to the B-Clear data portal on the City's website and provided updates at each Utility Service Board meeting to promote public awareness and increase transparency

  • Retained advice from two engineering firms in January to provide robust expertise regarding mitigation of DBPs

  • Based on engineering recommendations and after discussion with IDEM on February 12, at CBU's request IDEM approved relocating initial chlorination point at Monroe Treatment Plant on March 30, and CBU implemented those adjustments on April 4

  • Began targeted water main line flushing in areas with elevated DBP compounds on April 1, and is designing full directional flushing program to begin June 2016

"Our enhanced testing shows we still have work to do as we prepare for the warmer weather. Even during the cooler weather of the first quarter this year, our DBP levels remain higher than we want - though still in compliance with federal requirements - and we will aggressively continue analysis of options and steps to be taken in the longer term," said Hamilton. "We will continue to provide regular updates to the public via B-Clear, the biweekly CBU Board meetings, and other public statements as appropriate. I appreciate the steps taken to date by CBU, and I will closely monitor progress in the weeks and months ahead."

Hamilton also provided local information related to an issue of national prominence, in particular lead in water systems as found in Flint, Michigan. "CBU has consistently provided and continues to provide drinking water that complies with lead levels -- meaning there is no detectable lead in the water we produce -- less than one part per billion," Hamilton said. Lead can be introduced into drinking water, however, also through older pipes and systems in private homes and buildings. CBU has regularly monitored water quality at the tap or on-site in properties known to have this risk, consistent with federal and state requirements. Lead and Copper Rule sampling since 2004 has consistently shown that even in the high risk properties, the 90th percentile lead levels reported at the tap have been significantly below federal action levels (between 3.7 and 7 ppb, compared to an action level of 15 ppb). If any customer has concerns or wants additional information, CBU is available for consultation or voluntary testing as appropriate.

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