City samples drinking water to ensure safety

NACOGDOCHES, TX - The City of Nacogdoches continuously samples drinking water to ensure safe, potable water delivery to customers. Water is tested at least 30 times per month for Coliform bacteria, an indicator of contamination, as required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

In addition to monthly water samples, the City of Nacogdoches is required by the TCEQ to submit additional water samples for chemical analysis, heavy metals, Volatile Organic Chemicals, Synthetic Organic Chemicals, Trihalomethanes and Haloacetic Acids.

In 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented more stringent rules - mandating all water suppliers sample water distribution systems at different locations for the possibility of disinfectant byproducts forming in the system. Trihalomethanes and Haloacetic Acids, considered cancer-causing agents, are by-products of chlorine disinfection. "The City of Nacogdoches' fresh drinking water is well below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL's) for these two contaminants," Water Utilities Manager Russell Grubbs said.  Prior to this latest rule, all water systems were required to sample for disinfection by-products only at entry points into the distribution system.

Also in 2007, EPA implemented the Long Term Stage 2 Surfacewater Treatment Rule, which requires all surfacewater treatment plants to sample raw water supply monthly for singled celled microscopic organisms called Giardia and Cryptosporidium. These organisms are not easily destroyed by conventional chlorine disinfectant methods, and treatment techniques would need to be improved if the organisms are found in raw water supplies such as lakes, rivers and streams. "Sampling of Lake Nacogdoches began in January 2008 and all of our samples have been negative for Giardia, E-coli and Cryptosporidium," Grubbs said.

EPA selected the City of Nacogdoches to participate in the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR). Under this rule the City of Nacogdoches will sample for certain contaminants that are not regulated by state or federal regulatory agencies at the City's expense. The purpose of this testing is to help the EPA determine if these contaminants need to be regulated.

Unfunded mandated sampling of the water system is the responsibility of a public water supply. Funds come directly from the operations and maintenance budget of the water system.  The City of Nacogdoches spends approximately $20,000 annually on water testing, and is well below the maximum contaminant levels of all constituents tested.

"These are additional steps the City of Nacogdoches takes to provide citizens the highest quality of an uninterrupted water supply in a safe, secure and economical manner both now and in the future," Grubbs added.

In July of every year, the City of Nacogdoches provides an Annual Water Quality Report to all customers on its water system. These reports are included with the July water bills. This report includes all water sampling data for the previous year.  Copies of the Water Quality Report can be obtained from the Water Utilities Department.  Customers of the City of Nacogdoches water system are welcome to call the Water Utilities Department at 936-564-5046 for additional information.