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Water report reveals some contaminants but no EPA violations

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By Ashley Scoby

The new Taylorsville water quality report cites the existence of 12 contaminants in the water supply, none of which are an EPA violation.
For each possible contaminant in the water supply, there is an “accepted range” of detected values that is allowed. Everything detected in the Taylorsville water supply was in its respective acceptable range.
Several of the contaminants listed on the 2013 report include additives put into the water by Louisville Water Company, the institution from which Taylorsville buys its water. Fluoride, chloramines, haloacetic acids and total trihalomethanes are all purposefully added into the water and were not at dangerous levels when the water was tested.
“The word contaminant, to me, is the wrong word,” said Harold Compton, Taylorsville’s public works director. “Louisville puts fluoride in the water. They’re required to. But the EPA considers that a contaminant even though they require it to be there.”
Chloramines are used to control the microbes in a water supply. Since Taylorsville’s water is purchased from Louisville, chloramines are designed to stay in the water for a longer period of time because of the need to transport it. Therefore, there will always be chloramines in the water, Compton said.
Other contaminants listed on the 2013 report include copper and lead, which naturally leach into the water supply from old pipes. Compton said many houses built before the 1980s had copper water lines, and the solder that connected them contained lead. Now, those materials can seep into a house’s drinking water.
If it is determined that lead and copper are leaching into a home’s water, the public works department usually suggests that the pipes or faucets be replaced. According to Compton, cheaper faucets – made from plastic, for example – are actually a better investment in terms of keeping lead or copper out of the water supply. Lead is more likely to seep into the water with more expensive faucets.
The current annual report was an improvement from the previous one, which listed 15 total contaminants. Some materials on the last report that were not detected in 2012 included nickel and radium.
“I would say it’s average,” Compton said of the 2012 water quality report. “What you see here, most likely, you’re going to see on any report of any water supplier.”
Although the report is “average,” Compton said it’s still important for the public to know what has been detected in the city’s water supply.
“These reports aren’t there to scare people,” Compton said. “It’s just so people will know what’s in their water. Some people can be allergic to some of these things. Most people aren’t, but it’s something everybody needs to be aware of... People see the word ‘contaminant’ and think it’s something that’s going to make them sick, when in all reality, it’s not always about that.”
This year will be the first year Taylorsville will not mail out a hard copy of the report to all its customers. A sticker will be on the back of each water bill informing the customer of the report’s availability online. If you want a paper copy of the report, you can request that the public works department send one to your address.
To read the full 2012 water quality report, you can go to www.krwa.org/2012ccr/taylorsville.pdf.