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EP Warns Residents of Recent Water Standard Violations

In a letter sent to residents on behalf of the East Providence Water Utilities Division, the city is telling people that the situation is "not an emergency" and residents don't need to boil water or start using bottled water.

The city of East Providence is alerting residents that the city's water supply recently violated a drinking water standard after levels of a certain group of chemicals were detected.

In a letter sent to residents on behalf of the East Providence Water Utilities Division, the city is telling people that the situation is "not an emergency" and residents don't need to boil water or start using bottled water. 

The water supply has levels of total trihalomethanes, or TTHMS above drinking water standards. TTHMS are chemicals that are part of a group of volatile organic compounds, such as chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane or dibromochloromethane.

Those chemicals "form with time when the when the natural organics in water react with chlorine as it breaks down," the letter states. 

This is the first TTHM violation for the city and it's likely it will happen again until the city completes its proposed water system improvements.

The city buys its water from Providence Water and adds chlorine, per state Dept. of Health regulations.

Average test results from water samples over the past year shows that the system tested above the minimum standard for TTHMs at one location.

The water system relies on chlorine to kill bacteria and ensure pathogens and other agents are inactive when they come out of a residents' tap. But with the presence of chlorine in the water causing TTHMs, the city is "working to minimize the formation of TTHMs while ensuring an adequate level of disinfection."

The city has identified improvements needed to correct the system after working with an engineering firm. Those projects include upgrades to distribution mains, a new storage tank, treatment system and transmission main.

For more information, call Stephen Coutu, Public Works director or James Marvel, Water Superintendent at 401-435-7741.

The EPA has a Web site, www.epa.gov/safewater, with more information about TTHMs and other water quality issues.

BOBA April 12, 2014 at 07:00 AM
There are less expensive ways to deal with the issue of TTHM's than spending $19 million on system improvements. Stop trying to scare people into buying into your proposed big spending plan.
Monika April 12, 2014 at 03:21 PM
I called Mr. Coutu several months ago, when we received our Water Quality Report. I asked why one of the elements in the testing exceeded the governments standards for safe drinking water. He did not seem to be aware of it, but said he would look into it, and call me back. I never heard from him again. I have lived here for 10 years, and after doing some initial research, upon moving here, decided to drink only filtered water. I am an RN, and some of the things I uncovered were disturbing, to say the least. I hope this new Treatment Plant will solve the problems. Even if the water met the government standards---it tastes horrible---like drinking from a swimming pool! I'm assuming that's because they have to add the maximum amount of chlorine to kill the bacteria. I hope this changes, in the future...especially since our taxes have gone up to pay for all these new changes (*despite the radical drop in home values!)

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