Atlanta water quality report issued, no violations discovered

By John Dilmore

The Annual Drinking Water Quality Report for the City of Atlanta, covering the period from Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016, was made available to the public last week and contained no violations.
The city must regularly test for various contaminants in the local drinking water, and must stay below certain thresholds or be in violation of Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. In the event contaminant levels constituting a violation are detected, the city’s practice is to mail cards to customers informing them of that, according to city officials.
The annual report released last week describes a range of contaminant levels, all of them falling below safety thresholds required by the government, Atlanta City Manager David Cockrell said.
“There are no violations in this report,” Cockrell said last week. “However, the average person receiving this, by the way the TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) makes us do it … probably really does not get this format, and probably thinks this whole thing is notifying them that we have problems.”
As a ‘for instance,’ Cockrell noted, “It will say ‘contaminants -- lead and copper detected. Well, of course it’s detected … but it’s all underneath the regulatory guidelines. … We had no violations.”
The report does list the detection of copper, at a level too low to constitute a violation, and notes the likely source of the contaminant as “erosion of natural deposits; leaching from wood preservatives; corrosion of household plumbing.”
Other contaminants found (all below the level that would constitute a violation) and their likely sources include: haloacetic acids/“byproduct of drinking water disinfection”; nitrate (measured as nitrogen)/“runoff from fertilizer use; leaching from septic tanks, sewage; erosion of natural deposits”; and beta/photon emitters/“decay of natural and man-made deposits”.
Cockrell said that in addition to being mailed, the report would be posted to the city’s website and made available in various public locations around town, including the library.

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