WMU scores well in nat’l NRDC water quality report

Published 1:06 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Winchester Municipal Utilities has scored well in a report released earlier this month by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmental group.

In the NRDC’s recent report “Threats on Tap: Widespread Violations Highlight Need for Investment in Water Infrastructure and Protections” the organization created a comprehensive list of counties across the United States and their compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, which regulates the levels of about 100 contaminants that can be found in tap water.

The report showed that in 2015 there were more than 80,000 reported violations of the SDWA by community water systems.Nearly 77 million people were served by more than 18,000 of the systems with violations, the report stated.

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“These violations included exceeding health-based standards, failing to properly test water for contaminants and failing to report contamination to state authorities or the public,” the report stated. “What’s worse, 2015 saw more than 12,000 health-based violations in some 5,000 community water systems serving more than 27 million people.”

In Kentucky several counties, including Jefferson and Fayette, reported SDWA violations. Fayette County’s violations included one health-based violation.

Contaminants in drinking water are more common than some may realize. They can range from natural material that mixes in with the water from the environment to chemicals used to kill other potential contaminants. While clean water legislation does not require 100 percent of contaminants to be removed from drinking water, it does aim to keep contaminants at safe levels.

Clark County was one of the few areas in central Kentucky to not be flagged in the report as having a SDWA violation.

While WMU’s 2017 water quality report shows that water drawn from the Kentucky River and treated at the county’s water purification plant does contain contaminants, all are within acceptable levels as laid out by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

WMU is still working under a consent decree to correct a violation of the Clean Water Act, a separate law, by eliminating sanitary sewer overflows that can contaminate waterways.

However, General manager Mike Flynn confirmed that WMU does not have any outstanding violations with the SWDA.

“The Winchester Municipal Utilities, your drinking water provider, works around the clock to provide exceptional water services to every customer,” Flynn said.

According to WMU’s water quality report, the utility routinely takes samples of its water throughout the year and tests them to ensure contaminants are within acceptable levels. The report shows the highest levels detected throughout the past year.

“WMU regularly tests your drinking water for 77 other primary standards, 16 secondary standards and other standards for which results were found to be within acceptable levels,” the water quality report stated.

WMU’s most recent water quality report can be found at http://wmutilities.com/2017DWR.pdf.