Ga. EPD cites Fayette water system violation

The Fayette County Water System has been issued a Notice of Violation from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division concerning total trihalomethanes (TTHM) in the water supply. County officials said the violation does not pose a health risk.

Trihalomethanes (THM) are formed as a by-product predominately when chlorine is used to disinfect water for drinking. Disinfectants are used to protect drinking water from disease-causing organisms, or pathogens. This violation is not life-threatening and does not pose a risk to the quality of water supplied to the citizens of Fayette County, according to Fayette County Water System Director Tony Parrott.

Last year, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division changed the TTHM calculation to an individual site’s four-quarter running average. Previously, the calculation was a four-quarter running average of all the sites. Fayette County anticipated not meeting this new standard, and that anticipation is the reason behind researching alternative treatment techniques. Since the TTHM calculation is based on a four-quarter running average, Fayette County will probably not be in compliance when the results are provided next quarter, Parrott said.

Trihalomethanes are a group of four chemicals that are formed along with other disinfection byproducts when chlorine or other disinfectants used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter in water. The trihalomethanes are chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Parrott said Fayette County has been proactive over the years in researching and treating Total Organic Carbon (TOC) in its water reservoirs. In 2005, the Fayette County Water System began studying ways to treat TOC and a pilot test of different treatment techniques was conducted in 2010. In April 2012, the Fayette County Board of Commissioners approved a bond issue to fund a treatment solution and, recently, commissioners approved a second look at available techniques for water treatment. This review should be completed within a few months, said Parrott.

“I have full confidence in the Water System’s staff that they will rectify this situation,” said Commissioner David Barlow.

Anyone with questions about the violation can contact the Fayette County Water System at 770-320-6016.