Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Topeka Water Contains Byproducts of Chlorine and Ammonia

Topeka’s drinking water comes from the Kansas River, where many cities get their water. By the time the water reaches Topeka, it has been recycled multiple times. The water is cleaned, dirtied and cleaned again with chlorine and ammonia, to kill unwanted bacteria and viruses. The byproducts of all that chemical remain in the water, according to a recent water quality report.

The 2016 City of Topeka Water Quality Report shows Topeka’s water has nearly unacceptable levels of some contaminants, including haloacetic acids, a byproduct of water disinfection, and trihalomethanes, a byproduct of drinking water chlorination.

Source: 2016 City of Topeka Water Quality Report

Look under Organic Contaminants, you will see Topeka water has 59 parts per billion of haloacetic acids. EPA says the maximum contaminant level for haloacetic acids in drinking water is 60 parts per billion. Topeka water has 51 parts per billion of trihalomethanes, the maximum contaminant level is 80.

The EPA says "The trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids have demonstrated carcinogenic activity in laboratory animals."

Haloacetic acids are classified by the EPA as a Group 2B cancer classification (possibly carcinogenic to humans) because there is evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals, but there is either no evidence or not sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans.

Bruce Northup, Topeka Water Treatment Plant manager, confirmed the City of Topeka Water Quality Report reports 59 parts per billion of haloacetic acids out of a maximum contaminant level of 60 parts per billion. He said that 59 reading was taken as one of eight different sampling locations in the city of Topeka.  The 59 was the highest reading of any of the eight samples. Any higher reading and the city would be out of compliance with the EPA.

Northup would not release the location of the highest reading of haloacetic acids.

The Topeka Water Treatment Plant cleans about 20 million gallons of water per day. Northup said chlorine has been used to clean drinking water for over 100 years. 

"If we did not use chlorine, people would get sick from the bacteria and viruses in the water," he said.

Topeka water also has a high mineral content, including 54 parts per million of calcium, 89 parts per million of sulfates and 40 parts per million of sodium or salt. The salt comes from the Saline River that flows into the Kansas River.

Northup said Topeka has been testing for lead since 1992 and has had no problem with lead levels in city water. The minerals in Topeka water will over time build up over old lead joints in pipe, protecting the pipe. City pipes contain no lead, he said, and very few houses have any lead in their pipes.

The Kansas River is fed by multiple rivers over Northern and Central Kansas and Southern Nebraska. These feeder rivers are the Smoky Hill, the Saline, the Solomon the Republican, the Little Blue and the Big Blue rivers. 

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has evaluated Topeka’s water supply and has concluded it is “moderately susceptible to contamination,” and lists several pages of farms, gas stations and factories that could contaminate the water supply.

Glenn Sanders, owner of Straight Water, a water purification business in Topeka, said the City of Topeka does as good a job as possible to clean up the water, but it starts out with water in very poor condition. 

Straight Water uses a sophisticated process for improving Topeka water, including carbon filtering and reverse osmosis  Straight Water, owned by Sandra and Glenn Sanders, is entering its 12th year in business. 

Glenn Sanders said his customers have called him concerned about the levels of haloacetic acids in Topeka water. Straight Water's purification process cleans that out, he said.

The City of Topeka water report shows 310 parts per million of dissolved solids. Sanders said his test of Topeka water on April 16, 2016, showed 447 parts per million of dissolved solids. Straight Water removes solids down to 10 parts per million.

If you taste chlorine in your water, get a filter. An activated charcoal filter will remove the chlorine. Reverse osmosis will clean the water even further.

I recently stopped using tap water from the City of Topeka for making coffee. I switched to filtered water and was amazed at the difference. The coffee tasted better and I could drink more of it.

There are many ways to filter your water, we have a filter in our refrigerator. A good filter will remove chlorine taste and odor as well as other common contaminants like copper, cadmium and mercury. 

I would recommend consuming filtered water only. Use tap water for cleaning and washing and gardening. 

No comments:

Post a Comment