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The Daily



09-18-03: Chemicals in water way over the limit


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 treatment plant.
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 system
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 daily.
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.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
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P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822