2018 Water Quality Report
TOWN OF BIG SANDY
Montana Public Water Supply ID number 00150
2018 Water Quality Report
In a continuing effort to keep you informed about the quality of water and services we provide to you each day, we’re pleased to once again provide you with our Annual Water Quality Report. This report is a snapshot of the quality of water we provided you last year. It includes details regarding the source of your water, what your water contains and how it compares to EPA and the State of Montana standards.
Our water comes from three wells. The North well is 148 feet deep, the South well is 147 feet deep, and our third well is 138 feet deep. To ensure its purity, we treat our water with a small amount of chlorine. We have 408 service connections and we added one new connection last year. In a continuing effort to maintain and improve our system, we replaced some water mains and hydrants last year.
We want you, our valued customers, to be informed about your water system. If you want to learn more, please attend any of our regularly scheduled meetings held on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall. We are pleased to report that our drinking water is safe and meets all federal and state requirements. If you have any questions about this report or concerning your water system, please contact Tim LaBuda at (406) 390-0816. Tim is our certified operator with seven years of experience. He attends periodic training sessions to meet continuing education requirements. The most recent training course he attended was at the Montana Rural Water Systems Annual Conference held in Great Falls in February.
DID YOU KNOW? The sources of drinking water (both tap and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and in some cases radioactive elements. Water can also pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.
Contaminants that may be present in water include:
- Microbial contaminants such as viruses and bacteria which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations and wildlife.
- Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals which can be naturally occurring or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial or domestic waste water discharges, oil and gas production, mining and farming.
- Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.
- Volatile organic chemicals, which are byproducts of industrial processes, petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems.
- Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.
In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. FDA regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health. The Town of Big Sandy routinely monitors for contaminants in your drinking water according to Federal and State laws. We take all of our water samples to Montana Environmental Laboratory in Kalispell (406-755-2131). They are a private laboratory that is certified by the State of Montana and the EPA to analyze drinking water.
In keeping with our monitoring schedule established by EPA regulations, the following tests were conducted between January 1st and December 31st 2018:
- 13 coliform bacteria tests – all were coliform-free.
- 1 Nitrate plus Nitrite test – none was detected.
- Tests on the water from our distribution system to determine the possible presence of 61 organic contaminants – results were within EPA guidelines.
Due to the purity of our water, we have applied for and been issued a monitoring waiver for six inorganic contaminants. This waiver allows our system to sample only once every nine years for these contaminants. Past sampling has shown that these contaminants are either not present in our water or occur in such small amounts that they do not warrant a health hazard. This waiver covers the period from 2011 to 2019.
The following tables outline any contaminants detected during recent testing. Some of the data in the tables is more than a year old, since certain chemical contaminants are monitored less than once a year.
MCL – Maximum Contaminant Level – The MCL is the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.
MCLG – Maximum Contaminant Level Goal – The “MCL Goal” is the level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.
PPM – Parts per million or Milligrams per liter (mg/I) – one part per million corresponds to one minute in two years or a single penny in $10,000.
PPB – Parts per billion or Micrograms per liter – one part per billion corresponds to one minute in 2,000 years, or a single penny in $10,000,000.
TTHM – Total Trihalomethanes.
AL – Action Level – the concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.
pCi/L – Pico Curies per Liter – a very small unit of measurement of radioactivity.
What does this table tell us?
As you can see our system had no MCL violations. MCL’s are set at very stringent levels. To understand the possible health effects of exceeding the MCL, a person would have to drink two liters of water every day at the MCL for a lifetime to have a one in a million chance of having any adverse health effects. Although we have learned through our monitoring and testing that some constituents have been detected, the EPA has determined that your water IS SAFE at these levels.
We are required to monitor your drinking water for specific contaminants on a regular basis. Results of regular monitoring are an indicator of whether or not our drinking water meets health standards. During 2018 we did not monitor for disinfection byproducts and therefore cannot be sure of the quality of our drinking water during that time. We were notified of this and received a failure to monitor violation letter from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. In the future we will monitor for these contaminants annually during the summer months as required by our monitoring schedule.
All sources of drinking water are subject to potential contamination by constituents that are naturally occurring or man-made. Those constituents can be microbes, organic or inorganic chemicals, or radioactive materials. All drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or online at www.epa.gov/safewater.
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and other microbiological contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline, or online at www.epa.gov/safewater.
Lead in drinking water comes primarily from materials and components of the service lines and home plumbing systems. It is possible that lead levels at your home may be higher than other homes in the community as a result of materials used in your home’s plumbing. Our water system is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but we cannot control the variety of materials used in private home plumbing systems. If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. If you are concerned about elevated lead levels in your home’s water, you may wish to have your water tested by a certified laboratory like the one we send our samples to (Montana Environmental Laboratory, 406-755-2131). When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap until the water temperature has stabilized (usually for 30 seconds to 2 minutes) before you use the water for drinking or cooking. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure to lead is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline 1-800-426-4791, or online at www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
In September of 2006, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality conducted a source water assessment of our system. This report provides additional information on the potential vulnerability of our wells to contamination. This report is available to you for review online at http://svc.mt.gov/deq/dst/#/app/swp. The report can be summarized in the following table:
Significant Potential Contaminant Sources
Our water system is committed to providing our customers with safe, pure water and we are pleased that our water meets or exceeds all established state and federal standards. Thank you for reviewing this report.
Prepared by Montana Environmental Lab, LLC 1/19