by Dan McClelland
Despite the arrival of new, clean well water from the Pitchfork Pond Road site into the village water system this year, there is still enough water from the Little Simond source in the system to cause recent water tests to fail.
As required by law the village recently mailed a letter to all its water customers stating the local water system “has violated a drinking water standard.”
Similar notices have come annually for nearly a decade.
“Testing results from 2017 and 2018 show that our system exceeded the standard, or maximum contaminant level for total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and haloacetic acids (HAA5s).”
The levels for the TTHMs was 80 parts per billion and for HAA5s, 60 parts per billion.
The results came from the four samples collected each quarter at two village sites- the Pine Grove Restaurant and the village office on Park Street.
Since the well system came on the Pine Grove samples are below the maximum contaminant levels, but they have been exceeded at the village office.
Village officials wrote they expect the Pine Grove samples to get even better in the months ahead and also at the village office, where they are expected to soon pass.
“TTHM and HAA5 samples at the Pine Grove are now below maximum contaminant levels (MCL) and it is anticipated that within the next few quarters” the samples taken at the village office will also drop below state standards, according to the letter.
TTHMs and HAA5s are groups of chemicals formed in drinking water from lakes and rivers during disinfection when chlorine reacts with naturally occurring organic matter (leaves, algae, aquatic plants, etc.). Exposure over a long period of time has been linked to cancer and other diseases.
Drawing water from Tupper Lake and Little Simond are the reasons that village water tests haven't met state Department of Health and other standards for years.
It was the primary reason village leaders moved to develop the $6 million ground water system at the site off Pitchfork Pond Road in the past two years.
Both wells developed are producing a robust supply of water.
When the well system came on line this summer the village water department discontinued drawing water from Tupper Lake at its Moody Road filtration plant. In recent months steps have been taken by the water crew to shut down the plant and mothball it.
The water from Little Simond, treated at the Lake Simond filtration plant, still continues to be a village source, and currently flows into uptown neighborhoods and at Moody.
As time goes on more village water will come from the new wells and less from Little Simond, improving the overall quality of village water.
Right now downtown residents receive well water while uptown neighborhoods are receiving a combination from the two sources, Mark Robillard, water superintendent reported this week.
“We're using half as much water from Little Simond now than before the wells came on line,” he explained. That source will be used less and less as time goes on.
He said his crew was able to flush much of “the old water” from the entire system earlier this fall but didn't get a second opportunity to flush the system again, what with winter arriving so early.
Mr. Robillard said that in coming weeks and months they will be “pushing more well water” uptown and to Moody to further dilute the Little Simond water.
He said the eventual goal will be to have the well system service the entire community, if the abundant water flow from the wells is sustained.
For now, however, it's too soon to abandon that remaining surface water source located on the Reed property, he added.
State health officials want all communities to draw their water supply from below-ground water sources.
Village officials are adamant that all village water is “safe to drink, cook with and bath in. Some people may wish to take additional practical measures to reduce their exposure. We do not consider these measures necessary to avoid health effects, but they are provided as options. These include using bottle water for drinking and cooking purposes, or using water pitchers containing an activated carbon filter or tap-mounted filters. Ventilating bathroom area using exhaust fans or by opening windows when showering or bathing can also help reduce exposures from chemicals released in the air.”