Officials: Local drinking water is good

PARKERSBURG – An annual report on water quality shows residential water to be well within state and federal safety limits.

The Annual Drinking Water Quality Report by the Parkersburg Utility Board was mailed this month to customers. The report outlines any contaminants found within the water, how much was present and whether those levels violate state requirements.

Eric Bumgardner, assistant manager for the Parkersburg Utility Board, said what is not included in the report are the vast number of regulated items not found in area drinking water.

“All year long we have to collect samples which are tested by a third-party, independent laboratory,” he said. “They look for a wide range of contaminants. The only things we report on are the regulated contaminants found in the drink water. There are pages and pages of contaminants not found,” but which are still looked for through testing.

Such contaminants include microbial, inorganic, pesticides and herbicides, organic chemicals and radioactive elements.

Bumgardner said this year’s results are similar to past years, finding only traces of a half-dozen contaminants, including nitrates from fertilizer runoff and byproducts of water treatment, such as fluoride, sodium and chlorine. All were under state guideline levels.

“Parkersburg is fairly lucky in that our source water is very stable,” he said. “It allows us to have a little edge on surface water sources.”

One item not included in the report is C-8, which has been an issue of concern in recent years after local water sources were found with high levels of the chemical used to make Teflon.

“C-8 is not listed because it is not a regulated contaminant,” Bumgardner said. “We do monitor that, but not as part of the state regulations.”

C-8 levels have “been fairly consistent and well below the health advisory levels that have been established by the EPA (federal Environmental Protection Agency),” he said.

Bumgardner said the annual report is important not only as a way of showing water quality, but also as a way for the Utility Board to keep customers up to date on past and present projects.

“It is the utility’s opportunity to give a rundown on what we’ve accomplished during the year and to give insight on what we are planning to do,” he said.