08 luann hunt rtVCdQBrsUw unsplashThe Fayetteville Public Works Commission’s  2019 Water Quality Report provides customers with the results of annual testing the utility is required to perform. The PWC report   says, “we don’t test our water just because we have to — it’s part of our unparalleled commitment to provide ... the highest quality drinking water that meets and surpasses standard requirements.”

PWC is a charter member of the National Partnership for Safe Water and was the first utility in North Carolina to earn the Environmental Protection Agency Director’s Award for its efforts to provide clean, safe drinking water. PWC’s two water treatment plants use advanced technology to process the water. 

In 2018, Public Works treated 9.1 billion gallons of water. One hundred eighteen elements and contaminants regulated by the EPA are tested. PWC meets or surpasses the standard requirements annually. PWC understands that news reports about 1,4-Dioxane have caused concerns about the safety of the drinking water. 1,4-Dioxane has been detected in the Cape Fear River, which is the community’s primary source of water. The Environmental Protection Agency has no standards for 1,4-Dioxane and has not issued regulated safe limits.

Unregulated synthetic or naturally occurring chemicals that are not commonly monitored by water utilities are termed contaminants of emerging concern.

Some of these contaminants can be detected at extremely low levels in the environment by continuous laboratory and analytical methods. The health significance of these trace contaminants is ordinarily under review and the subject of further study and research.  An example of an unregulated contaminant of emerging concern is GenX or perfluorinated chemicals. Testing detected these chemicals in Fayetteville’s water supply. However, PWC’s water is below the health advisory levels for PFOS that have been established by the EPA.

The fact that a substance has been detected doesn’t necessarily mean it’s harmful to humans. For immediate concerns, the EPA would issue a health advisory based on the best available studies about the health effects of the unregulated chemical. Health advisories provide information on contaminants that can cause human health effects and are known or anticipated to occur in drinking water. EPA’s health advisories provide technical information to states, agencies and public health officials.

Fayetteville PWC is working to stay ahead of the science. With modern laboratory methods, these substances can be measured at parts per trillion concentrations.  For comparison, one part per trillion is approximately the equivalent of one drop of water in 10 million gallons. PWC reports the results of regulatory testing and unregulated contaminant monitoring in its annual water quality report, which provides a summary of water system operations and water quality management throughout the water system. Visit www.faypwc.com/water-quality-report to view the 2019 PWC report.

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