The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) published and made available its 2012 Consumer Confidence Report last week.
The report details for customers the results of the district’s water quality testing.
“PAWSD tests hundreds of times a year for bacteria,” Special Projects Manager Renee Lewis explained to The SUN.
It was June 2011, just over a year ago, when PAWSD was hit with a turbidity violation that was followed by a state-ordered, temporary boil notice.
The report states that turbidity has no health effects, “However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth.”
PAWSD took immediate action to correct the turbidity violation, which was caused by a chemical pump malfunction.
The report continues to state, “To eliminate future occurrences, PAWSD modified its control and monitoring systems to take its facilities off line during any high turbidity event.”
However, this violation was not the only one reported for 2011. PAWSD failed to monitor lead and copper.
The report states, “During 2011 we did not complete all monitoring for Lead and Copper. This does not pose a direct threat to the quality of our water supply.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lead and copper in drinking water may cause a wide range of health problems. In 1991, the EPA published the Lead and Copper Rule requiring that water districts monitor water at customer taps, since lead and copper may enter water through plumbing.
For the contaminants lead and copper, water districts are required to take samples once every three years. According to the report, samples were supposed to have been taken at some date between June 1 and Sept. 30, 2011.
“Lead and copper tests are required every three years during the hottest month of that calendar year,” Lewis said, adding, “PAWSD staff neglected to test for lead and copper last summer due to an administrative oversight and hectic schedule bringing on line the new Hatcher Water Treatment Plant.”
To correct this oversight in sampling, PAWSD has begun to use a calendar-based monitor reminder schedule to assist operators in scheduling, sampling and reporting.
“The calendar based monitoring reminder should prevent an oversight such as this from happening in the future,” Lewis said.
In addition, Lewis noted that PAWSD will test for copper and lead this summer.
“The results from the last testing for copper and lead, required in 2008, showed that PAWSD drinking water was well below the maximum contaminant level,” Lewis said.