Willsboro Water District Has Levels of Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) Above Drinking Water Standards
Our water system has violated a drinking water standard. As a customer, you have a right to know what happened, what you should do, and what we are doing to correct this situation. We routinely monitor for the presence of drinking water contaminants. Test results collected in August and November 2007 and March and May 2008 show that our system exceeds the standard, or maximum contaminant level (MCL), for Total Trihalomethanes. The standard for Total Trihalomethanes is 80 mcg/l (micrograms per liter). The average level of Total Trihalomethanes was 80.2 mcg/l. Trihalomethanes are a group of chemicals that includes chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane, and chlorodibromomethane. Trihalomethanes are formed in drinking water during treatment by chlorine, which reacts with certain acids that are in naturally-occurring organic material (e.g., decomposing vegetation such as tree leaves, algae or other aquatic plants) in surface water sources such as rivers and lakes. The amount of trihalomethanes in drinking water can change from day to day, depending on the temperature, the amount of organic material in the water, the amount of chlorine added, and a variety of other factors. Drinking water is disinfected by public water suppliers to kill bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illnesses. Chlorine is the most commonly used disinfectant in New York State. For this reason, disinfection of drinking water by chlorination is beneficial to public health. What should I do? If you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor. You may also wish to use an alternative water supply as your primary drinking water source (e.g. bottled water certified by NYS DOH). What does this mean? Some studies suggest that people who drink chlorinated water (which contains trihalomethanes) or water containing elevated levels of trihalomethanes for long periods of time may have an increased risk for certain health effects. For example, some studies of people who drank chlorinated drinking water for 20 to 30 years show that long term exposure to disinfection by-products (including trihalomethanes) is associated with an increased risk for certain types of cancer. A few studies of women who drank water containing trihalomethanes during pregnancy show an association between exposure to elevated levels of trihalomethanes and small increased risks for low birth weights, miscarriages and birth defects. However, in each of the studies, how long and how frequently people actually drank the water, as well as how much trihalomethanes the water contained is not known for certain. Therefore, we do not know for sure if the observed increases in risk for cancer and other health effects are due to trihalomethanes or some other factor. The individual trihalomethanes chloroform, bromodichloromethane and dibromochloromethane cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes. Chloroform, bromodichloromethane and dibromochloromethane are also known to cause effects in laboratory animals after high levels of exposure, primarily on the liver, kidney, nervous system and on their ability to bear healthy offspring. Chemicals that cause adverse health effects in laboratory animals after high levels of exposure may pose a risk for adverse health effects in humans exposed to lower levels over long periods of time What happened? What is being done? We are working with the New York State Department of Health to evaluate the water supply and researching options to correct the problem. For more information, please contact Robert Murphy at (518) 963-7101 or the Willsboro Town Office at (518) 963-8668. Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.