City Following DEP Notification Requirements
September 20, 2013
In an isolated incident, a water well that serves nearly 3,400 customers in eastern Tallahassee was recently taken offline after City biologists found that the untreated water at the well failed to meet the City's stringent water quality requirements. The City's drinking water is treated prior to distribution and the treated drinking water was tested and did not indicate any contamination.
"The most important thing for citizens to know is that the treated water that we distribute through City water lines has passed all standards and is the same safe water we have provided for years," said Jamie Shakar, Water Quality Manager.
On August 19, 2013 the untreated water coming directly from the aquifer tested positive for bacteria. The well, which is located near I-10 and Mahan Drive, was immediately shut down and has remained offline with customers being served by other wells. Prior to putting the well back into service it will be disinfected and tested to insure continued full compliance with drinking water standards.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) this week responded to the City's sampling report. Even though the detection was in the untreated water, DEP rules require the City provide this public notification.
Since samples of treated water did not indicate any contamination, there is nothing City water customers need to do at this time. However, because the untreated water tested above the allowable threshold for E. coli (a fecal indicator), EPA guidelines require a public notification process that includes the following language.
Fecal indicators are microbes whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term health effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.
The above described symptoms can also result from sources other than drinking water. Should you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice. Please share this information with other people living near the I-10 and Mahan area who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). The DEP suggests posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.
"Often it is difficult to determine where contamination may have come from," said Shakar. "The City conducts approximately 16,000 water sample tests a year and there has never been a report of untreated water testing positive for this type of contamination in the past."
Anyone with questions may contact the City's Water Quality Division at (850) 891-1200.
Jamie Shakar, Water Quality Division, 891-1200; or Carrie Poole, Communications Department, 891-85