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Contaminants well below hazardous levels

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

(Photo)
Jake Raubuch
Water from the tap continues to be safe to drink in Brazil.

Recently, the Brazil City Water Works Department mailed out its 2011 Consumer Confidence Report, which outlines the quality and contaminant levels in the distribution system from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2010.

"We are really happy with the results of the testing done by the environmental labs, which are located in Madison, Ind.," Water Superintendent Jake Raubuch said.

The report showed levels of contaminants detected in the system were well below the marks considered hazardous for consumption. Some of the contaminants detected include barium, chromium, sodium and nitrate.

"Nitrate is something we test for every year, which can occur from the erosion of natural deposits in the soil, along with the runoff of fertilizer from area farms," Raubuch said. "We take pride in providing safe drinking water for the citizens of Brazil, and I've said before that we know more about what's in our water than most people probably do about what's in bottled water."

Also mentioned in the report is there has been a Source Water Assessment prepared for the system, which Raubuch told The Brazil Times had been made several years ago due to the concern regarding the potential influence of surface water.

"At one time, we had a couple wells close to Walnut Creek, and it was felt surface water could be getting into the system," he said. "However, it was monitored for two years and found that was not the case and our water source was classified by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to be a 'Ground Water Source.'"

He added other contaminants only have to be tested for every few years due to the quality of the water being classified as above average in recent years.

"We last tested for lead and copper in 2008, but we are preparing to test for it again sometime in July," Raubuch told The Brazil Times.

With the Brazil Water System Improvements Project in full swing, Raubuch said there is the potential for the contaminant levels to be reduced even further, although most will still be detected.

"Some of the minerals are naturally occurring in ground water, so they will still show up, along with things like chlorine, which is used as an additive to disinfect and control microbiological organisms," he said.

He added testing is a constant process which is not just done in the event of a line break or boil order.

"Every month, we have to take 10 samples to the state for microbiological testing, so we are checking the quality frequently and staying within monitoring compliance requirements," Raubuch said. "We are very confident in the water the residents have coming through the faucets at their homes."

The department tests for Microbial, Inorganic, Pesticides/Herbicides, Organic Chemicals and Radioactive contaminants, but only the ones detected have to appear on the report.

Raubuch added tests conducted in summer months are typically the ones reflected in the annual report.

"As it gets hotter, the potential increases for contaminants to be created, so tests done in June and July provide a better gauge of how high the levels may be," he said. "However, with the monthly testing, we are constantly keeping tabs on what is in the water."

Raubuch also encouraged residents who have questions about the report, or concerns about the water system, to contact the Water Treatment Plant at 448-1700.

"There are a lot of numbers and abbreviations on the report, and we want to help residents understand it as much as possible," he said. "There are times where we may be out of the plant, but we have an answering machine and we will return calls."



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