Saturday, January 19, 2008

Contamination levels down, but tap water usage ban remains in effect

The Arizona Republic has the details -
A ban on drinking tap water remains in effect indefinitely for nearly 5,000 Paradise Valley and Scottsdale customers of Arizona American Water while the company works with government health officials to test water samples for a potentially toxic solvent.

The ban, which began Wednesday, urges customers not to drink tap water or use it to prepare food.

Arizona American's initial warning was to expire at 5 p.m. Friday but now is indefinite.


After the problem was detected, a test of the water showed the level to be 22 parts per billion. 5 ppb is the maximum contaminant level allowed.


Thursday, it had dropped to 1.9 ppb, within acceptable levels, but more checks of the system are needed.

Read the complete article (linked above) for more details, but to summarize - the affected customers in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley still shouldn't use their tap water for drinking or food preparation.

Arizona American Water's latest (18 January 2008) press release is here.

Arizona state government FAQ page on this is here.

Edit to add:

There is a blog, The TCE Blog, that is dedicated to publicizing the effects of TCE. If you are interested in learning more about TCE, it's worth a read. It's written by Neil Fischbein, who once lived in a town with a water supply that was contaminated with TCE.

End edit.


neil said...

Hi, my name is Neil. I track news and information about TCE and TCE
contamination in communities across the country at The TCE Blog. We've been monitoring the Scottsdale/PV situation via the press and realized that all the facts about TCE in water aren't being shared. Just a quick heads-up in case its of interest:

The EPA says it's OK to bathe/shower in the water, but don't drink it

This is irresponsible. They know better:

From EPA's 2001 TCE Report: "[A] 10-minute shower in TCE-contaminated water could result in inhalation exposure comparable to that from drinking TCE-contaminated tap water."

ATSDR says:

"In some model shower experiments, about 40–60% of tricholoroethylene
(TCE) in water was volatilized to the air, depending on water temperature and other factors (Andelman 1985). A one-compartment exposure model used by Maslia et al. (1996) indicated that exposure to TCE by inhalation during shower is nearly identical to that of ingesting water contaminated with TCE."

and also:

"Dermal absorption of contaminants in water occurs during bathing, showering, or swimming and may be a significant route of exposure..."

Though TCE levels appear to have dropped below the MCL, why the partial information/restriction?

To be safe, we're recommending people not come in contact with the water for any reason until it's cleared for drinking.

Neil Fischbein
The TCE Blog

cpmaz said...

Thanks for the info, Neil.

I'm going to link to your blog and refer readers who are looking for more info on TCE to it.

bestonline323 said...

In October and January, water contaminated with TCE got into the water supply for nearly 5,000 customers of Arizona American in Paradise Valley and Scottsdale.
The most recent incident resulted last month in a three-day ban on drinking tap water or using it for cooking and prompted Scottsdale officials to consider alternate water supplies for the nearly 1,200 Scottsdale customers of Arizona American. Even if the well is not used for domestic purposes, it still must be pumped and the water treated to prevent a plume containing TCE from expanding northward in the North Indian Bend Wash aquifer. Paul Townsley, president of Arizona American, made the announcement last week during a 5 1/2-hour fact-finding meeting held Wednesday by the Arizona Corporation Commission, the state agency that regulates private water companies. The commission sets water rates and attempts to ensure customer service. Townsley said the well, known as PCX-1, will no longer be used as a source of drinking water. The well is owned by Salt River Project, but is treated by Arizona American. The well pumps about 3 million gallons of water a day. Arizona American's Paradise Valley and Scottsdale customers use from 5 million to 15 million gallons a day, depending on the time of year and peak use.

Great post!

reducing water usage