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Treatment plant working to correct acid levels in water

March 07, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The City of Charles Town's water treatment plant recently violated a federal drinking water standard, but the situation has shown improvement, state and local officials said Thursday.

Testing showed that the city's water system exceeded the federal level for haloacetic acids, according to a notice from the water plant.

Haloacetic acids are formed when chlorine reacts with natural organic materials found in surface water, the notice said.

People who drink water containing elevated levels of haloacetic acids over many years might have an increased risk of getting cancer, the notice said.

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The federal standard for haloacetic acids in water is 60 micrograms per liter. During testing of city water last year, the average level for haloacetic acids was 75.8 micrograms per liter, according to the notice.

Two recent tests have shown that the levels of haloacetic acids in the water are well below the federal standard, the notice said.

"This is not an immediate risk. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately. However, some people who drink water containing haloacetic acids in excess of the (federal standard) over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer," the notice said.

Measures have been taken to control the haloacetic acid level in the water, local and state officials said.

One of those measures is adding chlorine later in the water treatment process, plant manager Tim Stone said.

"Hopefully, the treatment changes they made will correct the problem," said Bradley Reid of the West Virginia Public Health Department, who discussed the issue Thursday with the Jefferson County Commission.

The city water plant, which draws water from the Shenandoah River, serves the Ranson, W.Va., and Charles Town areas, Stone said.

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