Date distributed: February 24, 2016.
The Village of Nyack wants the public to know about a recent violation of drinking water standards. THIS IS NOT AN EMERGENCY. We believe that, as our water customers, you have a right to know all information related to your water quickly. The law requires that we notify the public within thirty days from the time that a violation of this type occurs but Village of Nyack officials felt strongly that it was important to notify the public as soon as the problem had been assessed and confirmed by both the Rockland County Health Department (RCDOH) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and once we had put an operational plan in place to address the problem and restore our water to full compliance with the health department regulations..
On Friday, February 19th, Nyack Water contacted the RCDOH to report an increase in a class of substances collectively known as Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM). These substances are known as disinfection byproducts, and result from an interaction between the chlorine required for disinfection to create safe potable water, and naturally occurring organic matter in the water. When present at elevated levels over many years, TTHM may cause health problems (see What does this mean? below) Thus, Nyack Water routinely monitors their level in your water supply, compares the levels to state and federal standards, and reports the results to the County Health Department.
After receiving the results of samples from the first quarter of 2016, Nyack Water calculated the average that applies to the regulation on Thursday, and notified the Department of Health that the annual average exceeded the allowable concentration. RCDOH advised the Village, with counsel from the NYSDOH, on the steps the Village needed to take to inform the public of this violation. The Village also consulted with RCDOH on our plans to investigate the problem and restore compliance. By Tuesday evening, those plans were in place and we are notifying Nyack Water customers this morning.
The remainder of this notice is taken directly from the template required by the US EPA and State Department of Health.
Nyack Water Department
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR DRINKING WATER
Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM) MCL Violation at Nyack Water Department
Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard. Although this incident was not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened and what we are doing to correct this situation.
We routinely monitor for the presence of drinking water contaminants. Testing results from the 2nd quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016 show that our system exceeds the standard, or maximum contaminant level (MCL), for TTHM. The standard for TTHM is 80 ug/l (micrograms per liter or parts per billion). It is determined by averaging all the samples collected at each sampling location for the past 12 months. The level of TTHM averaged at one of our system’s locations for these four quarters was 82.3 ug/l.
What should I do?
- There is nothing you need to do. You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions. If a situation arises where the water is no longer safe to drink, you will be notified within 24 hours.
- If you have a severely compromised immune system, have an infant, are pregnant, or are elderly, you may be at increased risk and should seek advice from your health care providers about drinking this water.
What does this mean?
This is not an emergency. If it had been an emergency, you would have been notified within 24 hours. TTHM are four volatile organic chemicals which form when disinfectants react with natural organic matter in the water. People who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.
What is being done?
We are working to minimize the formation of TTHM’s while ensuring we maintain an adequate level of disinfectant. We are taking steps in an effort to reduce natural organic matter, and thus reduce the precursors of TTHM formation. We will also increase flushing within the distribution system to reduce or avoid one of the mechanisms controlling their formation (water aging). We will be testing again after we initiate these practices to determine if our efforts were successful and following up with further actions as warranted.
For more information, please contact our Water Department Superintendent, Harry Williams at 845-358-3734 or write to Nyack Water Department, 9 North Broadway, Nyack, NY 10960 and/or Rockland County Department of Health at 845-364-2608.
Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly. You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.
This notice is being sent to you by email blast and by US postal service. State Water System ID#: NY4303666.