Cleaning byproduct in water above normal levels

By Jonathan Delozier -

Levels of a potentially dangerous cleaning byproduct have read slightly above normal in Wellington’s water, according to a letter sent to the village from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The threshold for total trihalomethanes, or TTHMs, set by the EPA is .080, or 80 parts per billion. Village readings over the past three months came in at an average of .081, according to water superintendent Mark Rosemark.

He said through talks with the EPA it’s been determined that the readings pose no immediate health risk. The letter, dated Sept. 12, set a 30-day deadline for the village to mail out a notification to customers, which is set to be included in upcoming bills.

TTHMs are chemical compounds that form when chlorine is used to treat drinking water and were the first target of EPA regulators after the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 was passed into law.

According to the EPA, prolonged exposure to TTHM levels above the set threshold can cause liver and kidney disease, central nervous system problems, and an increased risk of cancer.

“We’ve been dealing with this issue for a long time and I don’t want to diminish the importance of it,” Rosemark said. “We’ve taken big steps in addressing it in applying for and receiving grant dollars to replace our ground storage tank.”

Replacing the 50-year-old tank is estimated to cost around $1 million. The village is in the running for aid in the form of zero percent interest loans from the Ohio EPA.

The Ohio Public Works Commission has already contributed $350,000 to the project, half-grant and half-loan.

“One of the reasons we wanted this new tank is to introduce treatment methods that just aren’t possible with what we have now,” said Rosemark. “We flush the system regularly and take a number of other precautions.”

State laws require the maintenance of a chlorine residual in all parts of local water systems.

“That kind of creates a big quandary and it’s a balancing act,” he said. “With the new tank, we’d like to introduce extra aeration into the water or even some form of mechanical mixing. There are a number of different technologies that accomplish the same thing where you’re basically keeping the water fresher. In events that you have excess chlorine in the system, oxidation or aeration is a way of releasing it into the atmosphere.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier