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Uptown testing site still not producing samples that pass state standards

Dan McClelland

All village water customers in both the village and town received another notice this week from the Village of Tupper Lake that the local system still contains levels of hazardous chemicals above amounts permitted in state water standards.

The village routinely monitors its system for the presence of drinking water contaminants. Testing results from 2018 and 2019 show that the system exceeded the standard or maximum contaminant level (MCL) for Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids (HAA5s) based on collections at the Pine Grove Restaurant and the village office. The MCL for TTHM is 80 parts per billion and the MCL for HAA5 is 60 parts per billion.

In the second quarter of this year the village office location produced samples of 81.3 ppb of TTHMs and 73 ppb for HAA5s. The numbers continue to decrease, however, in the running average.

The village tests quarterly and averages it samples taken at each location for a running yearly average.

The good news this week is that the contaminants found at the 166 Main St. location are now below the maximum state limits and no violations exists. The reason for that is that all the water there now comes from the new wells beyond Pitchfork Pond.

The levels of the two believed to be possibly harmful elements is still above state standards at the village office testing site, but they are decreasing with each testing.

The reason for the bad results there is that some of the water in the uptown neighborhoods is still coming from the surface water source at Little Simond where the filtration plant is still in operation. Surface water sources contain organic matter which when combined with chlorine form TTHMs and HAA5s.

It is expected that the two chemicals will drop within the next several quarters as more and more well water is used in the system so the water samples coming from the village office meet state standards.

For years the village system has been in violation of state standards as all the water drawn came from surface water sources either at Tupper Lake or Little Simond. After new wells were opened beyond Pitchfork Pond last year, the Moody filtration plant was closed, eliminating the big lake as a water source. Now the local water system is a mix of well water and surface water from Little Simond. Well water requires less chlorine to disinfect it and hence produces fewer chemicals.