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The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) released recent additional water test results on March 21, 2018 showing that levels of disinfection by-products measured during its annual temporary chlorine maintenance are well within regulatory standards.
NTMWD uses an industry-standard, multi-step process to treat water from lakes that makes up all of its water supplies. The disinfection process eliminates bacteria, parasites and viruses through the combination of ozone, chlorine and chloramine (chlorine + ammonia) for disinfection. According to data provided by the Water Research Foundation, approximately 45 percent of the U.S. population is served by public water supplies using chloramine, a proven and effective method of maintaining water disinfection as it travels through systems and into homes and businesses. Many water providers convert to chloramine because it reduces disinfectant by-products. The District’s use of the disinfectant is based on its effectiveness and not the cost of the treatment.Each year before warmer weather begins, NTMWD performs a 28-day “free chlorine” preventive maintenance process to safeguard public health. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), many utilities throughout the state and country, commonly in states with warmer climates that use chloramines for their distribution disinfectant, convert to free chlorine (temporarily removing ammonia) on a routine or as needed basis. NTMWD has performed this maintenance as a routine practice since 2007. This is a preventive measure, not a response to a problem with the water system. The current maintenance period ends March 26.
NTMWD conducts almost 250-thousand water tests system-wide each year. The results of these analyses, including tests continued routine tests conducted during the maintenance period, and past experience have shown that, the levels of disinfection by-products remain well within regulatory standards. However, in response to the increased interest during this year’s annual chlorine maintenance, additional samples were collected from the NTMWD distribution system last week and tested by an independent lab for disinfection by-products (trihalomethanes or THM). Samples collected in Plano (northern system) and Forney (southern system) showed THM levels at 54 and 71 parts per billion (ppb) or (i.e. 0.054 and 0.071 mg/L), respectively. These levels are well below the limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which requires that public water systems maintain an annual average of THMs below 80 ppb. NTMWD has posted the independent lab report online.
“The temporary use of free chlorine is a proactive and preventive measure that is accepted by the TCEQ and the EPA to safeguard public health. It is a common, proven method to maintain water quality throughout a large system like ours,” said Tom Kula, Executive Director of NTMWD. “Contrary to what some are saying, we have the science and data that shows that our water is safe,” Kula added.
In addition to the most recent test results on THM levels, NTMWD has posted online a letter from TCEQ and a note from a regional EPA administrator on the treatment and the water system maintenance processes. As noted in the TCEQ letter, “TCEQ’s records show that the system is in compliance with these regulations and also meets the TCEQ’s requirements for disinfection residuals.”
NTMWD also worked with its cities to develop and post online answers to Frequently Asked Questions based on listening to public comments around the region.More information about NTMWD water quality, including test results, can be found on the NTMWD website at: https://www.ntmwd.com/water-quality-reports/
Additional Information Links:
Update to Plano City Council on Water Quality, March 20, 2018
Journey of Water Video
Summary:NTMWD has been delivering safe, quality water to cities for 60+ years. The water industry is highly regulated. NTMWD meets or exceeds all standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The treatment, testing and maintenance we use are proven, industry practices optimized to our system. NTMWD water supplies are from surface water (lakes) and requires treatment processes specific to our region and system. Hundreds of samples are collected and tested daily and more than 250,000 are tested annually to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements. Our monthly and annual water quality reports are posted online at www.NTMWD.com. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency have confirmed that NTMWD is in full compliance.