By SEAN RICE
Celina’s drinking water averaged triple the federal limit
for trihalomethanes, a believed cancer-causing agent, during
the last 12 months.
Another year of high readings for trihalomethanes (THMs) marks
a decade of poor water quality with periodic violations stretching
back to 1993.
THMs are a group of chemicals that are created during the treatment
process and are believed to contribute to bladder and other
cancers, as well as non-cancerous intestinal diseases. The chemicals
form in the water lines when organic material naturally occurring
in Grand Lake water is treated with chlorine in the Celina water
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has already fined the
city $10,000 for excessive violations and is demanding the city
find a permanent fix within the next couple years.
In the search for a fix, city contractors are moving forward
with well exploration in a field north of Celina to see if there
is enough water present underground to switch to a groundwater-supplied
Meanwhile, city leaders are awaiting results from a new filtering
system that was tested on the current water treatment plant.
Some city officials are hoping they can put a lid on the THM
levels using new technology from the Actiflo company, without
building a new plant as the EPA is pushing for.
Celina water crews test for THMs quarterly, by taking samples
from four locations on the water system. The most recent test
on Aug. 4 shows the average reading from the four sites at 393
parts per billion (ppb). The federal limit for THMs is 80 ppb.
In May, the average was 215 ppb, and in February the average
was 189 ppb.
Last year’s annual average at this time was 176 ppb.
Celina water Superintendent Mike Sudman said THM levels follow
a pattern every year where readings spike in the summer months
and drop during the winter. Organic material such as algae,
fish and feces are more prevalent in the warm weather.
But this year’s levels are markedly higher than last year
because more chlorine is being used, Sudman said. The EPA also
has requirements for the level of chlorine that must always
be present in the water, and crews test for it at various locations
Sudman said the chlorine level has been borderline in the past,
teetering on too low. An increase in chlorine was made to ensure
the proper level is maintained, he said. Also some complaints
of black mold growing on the end of faucets and inside shower
heads prompted him to up the dose slightly.
Sudman hopes the complete results from the Actiflo tests that
were run in July will be available for Monday’s Celina
City Council meeting. From what he has seen so far, the Actiflo
system improved the water coming out of the lake, but he does
not believe the new technology will be the silver bullet in
solving the city’s water problems.