Association manager says Adams County water clean, safe

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 10, 2000

Even after the Adams County Water Association was cleared of any wrong following a &uot;bad water scare&uot; on Beau Pr\u00E9 Road earlier this summer, some residents remain wary of their drinking water.

But, water association manager Ken Herring assures the county’s customers their worries are unfounded.

&uot;Adams County water is safe and has been safe,&uot; Herring said.

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In June, the association asked several residents along the road to boil their drinking water for a few days until a possible bacterial contamination could be located and corrected.

After collecting and testing numerous water samples, visiting the affected area and reviewing ACWA and Adams County Health Department records, the state water board officially cleared ACWA of any oversights.

According to the state’s report, samples that tested positive for E. coli were &uot;suspect&uot; due to incorrect sampling procedures – the water was probably safe all along.

But, lingering stories of small children in the area who have been diagnosed with salmonella and possible E.coli infections have some residents asking questions about their own water.

Tracy Mascagni, 8 Beau Pr\u00E9 Road, said her tap water is occasionally brown with an odor similar to that of &uot;rotten eggs.&uot;

Herring said he has not received any complaints of a &uot;rotten egg&uot; smell, and if he had, he would visit the home.

&uot;We’d send somebody over there and check it out,&uot; he said.

A few houses down the road, Dorothy Seab said she chooses to buy bottled water because of the strong chlorine smell and taste in her tap water.

&uot;It’s just full of chlorine,&uot; Seab said. &uot;It smells so bad and tastes so bad.&uot;

The chemical kills any germs that might exist in the water.

The health department requires a certain level – 0.5 percent – of chlorine at the end point of each line, Herring said.

So, the closer a house or business is to a water treatment plant, the higher the level of chlorine, or chloromines, in the water.

Plant chlorine levels vary, depending on a number of conditions, but usually hover around 1.6 percent, Herring said.

While the strong taste and smell may be unappetizing to some people, chlorine is not dangerous to humans until percentages of 4.0 or greater.

Answering some residents concerns that ACWA upped the chlorine content following the &uot;scare,&uot; Herring said he checked sampling logs and July’s chlorine level is in line with those from previous months.

The Ellis family, 25 Beau Pr\u00E9 Road, also drinks bottled water. &uot;Just from hearsay of people getting sick,&uot; Jason Ellis said, also citing complaints of strong chlorine smell and taste.

Two to three months ago, about the time of the &uot;scare,&uot; Vera McCollum, 46 Beau Pr\u00E9 Road, said she noticed her water was discolored.

&uot;It looked like somebody had flushed a toilet in the line,&uot; McCollum said. &uot;It was just this one slip somebody made, I think.&uot;

Ironically, McCollum said she and her son had just been talking about how much the water quality had improved since they first moved to the area.

Several other residents agree they are pleased with the overall quality of their water.

William Givens, 51 Beau Pr\u00E9 Road, is a retired manager of the ACWA.

&uot;What happened here (the possible contamination), that can happen,&uot; Givens said. &uot;By and large, Adams County Water is well-run.&uot;

From his 18 years managing the county’s water, Givens said he knows all precautions are being taken at the water treatment plants to insure safe water.

&uot;I can’t say anything bad about them,&uot; he said.

Theresa Garner, 36 Beau Pr\u00E9 Road, also has no complaints.

&uot;I don’t have anything bad to say,&uot; Garner said. &uot;Every now and then, (the water) smells a little more like chlorine, but I don’t think that’s unusual.&uot;