Tests of the county’s water system taken in recent days show that the level of potentially harmful chlorine by-products has dropped well below limits set by the state Health Department, county officials said Thursday.
Quarterly tests sent to the state Health Department in August showed the county water contained 68 parts per billion of haloacetic acids, which are byproducts of the chlorine water treatment process. The maximum allowed under state regulations is 60 ppb.
Ed Hernandez, an engineer with Albany-based Delaware Engineering, reported to the Saratoga County Water Authority that after the water system had been flushed, samples taken Monday showed that levels of the acids had dropped below 50 ppb.
“These results are well below the regulatory limits,” Hernandez said.
Delaware Engineering, which the water authority hired as a consultant to deal with the water problem, had the water tested by two different laboratories and results were the same.
The county water system’s three municipal customers — the towns of Ballston, Clifton Park and Wilton — have all stopped taking water from the system until the levels of the chlorine by-products are reduced.
Flushing of the water system, which takes water from the upper Hudson River in Moreau and treats and filters it before sending it into its distribution pipes, started two weeks ago. Waterford town Supervisor John E. Lawler, the water authority’s chairman, said a regular flushing program is expected to be implemented to keep water from sitting in the county’s transmission pipe longer than expected.
He said Delaware Engineering will continue to test the water regularly for another week. If the chlorine byproducts remain well below regulatory limits, the water authority will “request our municipal clients to resume buying water,” Lawler said at an authority meeting in the county Municipal Center.
“We are thrilled with the results, but we need to play this out to make sure our results are correct and the problem is solved,” he said.
Hernandez said the water authority may need to implement a routine flushing program, possibly once a week, to reduce chances of the chlorine byproducts again building up in the water system.
The acids in the water are created by a chemical reaction of chlorine with traces of organic material from the Hudson River, such as dead leaves. Health officials have said that there is no short-term risk from drinking water with elevated levels of haloacetic acids, but exposure over 20 or 30 years could have health consequences.
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