Ironton water gets EPA OK

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2006

It is still safe to drink the water in Ironton.

That iss according to the city’s annual water quality report, a full-color, fold-out brochure, which covers all testing completed from January 2005 through December 2005 of the city’s drinking water.

The report, which is required by the Environmental Protection Agency, must be completed and distributed to all customers by July 1 every year.

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Mark White, superintendent of the Water Filtration Plant in Ironton, is responsible for compiling the report, which monitors regulated substance in the water, such as barium, fluoride and nitrate. The amount detected of all substances must be within the allowable range set forth by the EPA for the city’s water to get a passing grade.

“Belmont Labs runs the sample on most everything on the list,” White said. “If the results of the tests were below EPA’s allowable levels, they send a copy of the results back to us. If the test results are above allowable levels, they send a copy to the EPA.”

Under White’s two-and-a-half year tenure, there have been no violations in Ironton’s water.

“We’ve done very well,” he said.

Typically, the results are the same from year to year, White added.

“Something significant would have to happen, like a spill, to cause a noticeable change in the annual report,” he said.

Although the city’s water passed EPA’s tests, people with heightened risk of infection still need to exercise caution when drinking tap water, according to the U.S. EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline.

A spokesperson for the hotline said that anyone with this condition should boil all water for at least 1 minute.

“That water can be safely stored for up to six months in a clean, covered container,” she added.

Also, people who have cancer or have underwent organ transplants in addition to the elderly, infants and people with HIV/AIDS or other immune disorders may be at risk from infections and should contact the drinking water hotline for more information.

As for the report itself, which was presented by the city of Ironton, White stressed that the taxpayer’s money was “of great importance” when completing the brochure.

“We could have went black and white with it, but color was about the same price,” White said. “And since the EPA requires us to do it every year, we wanted to get the most bang for our buck.”

The city had the brochures printed by the Gemini Group, which designs public notification documents for the water industry. The group has worked exclusively with the water industry since passage of the Safe Water Drinking Act in 1998.

The city was able to produce 5,000 copies of the report for about $2,100. Of those, 4,744 were sent to customers and the rest are kept at the Water Plant and the Water Works office.

White said that anyone who is interested can stop by and pick one up for free at either location.