Bob Bowcock Responds to August 9 Jenks Boil Order
Sadly, its not just E.Coli outbreaks,we are also seeing an increase in Legionella outbreaks across the country in systems that have switched to the weaker chloramine.
December 14, 2004
I am very sorry to hear of the unfortunate drinking water boil notice and restaurant closure in the City of Jenks this week. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality was acting with an abundance of caution when it issued the precautionary boil water advisory; E. coli poisoning can be very dangerous.
The City of Jenks purchases all water from the City of Tulsa Municipal Utility Authority. Tulsa receives water from three different lakes: Lake Oologah, Lake Spavinaw and Lake Hudson. That water is treated at the A.B. Jewell Water Treatment Plant before sale to the City of Jenks. Last year, the City of Tulsa changed its disinfectant from chlorine to weaker chloramine to avoid the formation of regulated disinfection byproducts. Chlorine will form certain carcinogenic compounds when it reacts with organics and other wastes in the lake water before it is treated; adding ammonia sequesters these reactions, but makes the disinfection process weaker. This is becoming a common problem in systems that have switched to chloramine for disinfection.
Many water systems using chloramine go through an annual or semiannual process called a chlorine burn; in Texas and North Carolina they are required. Palm Bay, Florida has been suffering almost daily boil water notices and chlorine burns throughout this summer.
The Health Department says E. coli could have got in the water system any number of ways, it could have been low water pressure, a water main break, or even a failure in the treatment process, but for many people it's not how it happened but when. By using free chlorine in the distribution system, when these events happen, the chlorine is there ready to kill the bacteria. Sadly, it is not just an increase in E. coli, we are also seeing an increase in Legionella outbreaks across the country in systems that have switched to the weaker chloramine.
Water treatment professionals need to focus on removing the organics and other waste material in our drinking water so that we can return to using free chlorine... a stronger, safer, disinfectant. Sequestering chlorine by binding it up with ammonia: 1. Causes immediate and chronic health effects, 2. Damage to pipes and fixtures, 3. Damage to rubber gaskets in appliances, 4. Is clearly a weaker disinfectant... and, 5. Still forms hundreds of disinfection byproducts (just presently unregulated) many now to be 100,000 times more toxic than the regular chlorine byproducts (regulated since 1979).
Tulsa Municipal Utility Authority needs to remove the dirt, organics and other waste material from the drinking water supply. Repeatedly we have heard them say it costs too much. What was the cost to the Jenks community for this week’s event? What might be the cost of a life when the disinfectant fails again?
Integrated Resource Management, Inc.
405 North Indian Hill Boulevard (909) 621-1266 Claremont, CA 91711-4600 (909) 621-1196 Fax
ISSUES RELATED TO CHLORAMINE:
Health Concerns: Skin rashes, respiratory and digestive problems have all been related to chloramine. Byproducts of chloramine have been shown to be genotoxic (DNA damaging), cytotoxic (cell damaging) and carcinogenic (cancer causing.)
Environmental Hazard: Chloramines are toxic to fish and amphibians in levels used in drinking water. A water main break in Virginia killed all aquatic life for 9 miles. At least one water district in California has been fined for a steelhead trout kill from a drinking water spill.
Leaches lead in pipes: The addition of monochloramine can make water more corrosive, which may lead to increased lead or other contaminants.
Damages Property: will break down rubber and other components in homes and in the water distribution system. Lawsuits have been filed for damages to pipes, causing slab leaks.
Insufficient Research: the EPA admits that is has no respiratory, digestive, skin or epidemilogical studies on the health effects of chloraminated water on humans.
Difficult to Remove-boiling, sitting and most filters do not remove chloramine from water.
Toxic to dialysis patients.
Byproducts of Chloramine have been shown to be greater 100,000 more toxic than the byproduct the use of chloramine is used to remove. Does this make any sense?
What Does the Research Say?
The safety assurances the City of Tulsa has given Tulsans are solely based on the regulated byproducts of chloramine. The unregulated byproducts are the concern and they have only recently have begun to been studied. Even the EPA website itself reveals that these studies are showing that the unregulated byproducts of chloraminated water are "highly genotoxic" and "cause adverse health effects".
The current growing body of scientific research is indicating that the use of chloramines is mutagenic, cytotoxic and carcinogenic.
LET OUR CITY KNOW YOU WANT THEM TO FILTER OUR WATER, NOT ADD A TOXIC CHEMICAL