GALLIPOLIS — According to Gallipolis water treatment employees, the town water treatment plant recently sampled water leaving the plant and found the lead level was less than .05 ppb (parts per billion), which is the lowest detectable limit of an outside testing laboratory.
According to Brent McCreedy, Gallipolis water treatment plant representative, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency asks that the water plant run all manner of testing on water in order to make certain serviced individuals are safe when consuming water. Typically, the state asks the water plant to test for lead every three years. The last formal test was made in 2013. McCreedy says the water plant will be testing for lead formally again this year, starting in June and ending near September.
A part per billion is one part of something in a billion parts of something else. Water experts use the example of a grain of salt in a billion grains of sugar. According to water treatment employees, “Scientists can measure how much contaminant is found in a liter of water. Sometimes expressed as micrograms per liter (Fg/l), which is equal to ppb (parts per billion).”
McCreedy has said many of the city’s water mains are made of ductile iron and trends in the line of new pipe material being inserted lean toward PVC as the choice of pipe used. However, that is not to say that a homeowner should not worry about lead poisoning. McCreedy said that at times a homeowner may need to examine the piping in an older home to make sure certain contaminants are not found in a residence’s drinking water.
Water treatment employees are constantly testing the fluoride, hardness, alkalinity and chlorine levels of water passing through the treatment plant in an attempt to keep city residents safe. Testing for other less common materials is sent by the treatment plant to outside labs for testing.
City employees say that residents can expect information on water bills in upcoming weeks to direct them to a link where they can read the 2016 Drinking Water Consumer Confidence Report for the Gallipolis treatment facility. Residents can also request that a hard copy be sent to their address.
City employees feel that preliminary water lead tests are a good sign that Gallipolis residents don’t have to worry about lead poisoning. However, formal tests over the summer in several different locations throughout the city can further consolidate the claim with more data gathered.
The water report can be viewed at www.ohioruralwater.org/gallipolis.html.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.