WILLIAMSON – At Thursday’s regular meeting of the Williamson Utility Board (WUB), local resident Teresa McCune expressed concerns regarding a recent letter mailed to residents by the WUB concerning failure to meet Nitrate monitoring requirements for the compliance period spanning from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015.
The letter referenced by McCune at the meeting was sent to Williamson residents on June 14. The letter explains that the water system violated monitoring requirements within the past year and states that although the violation was not an emergency, that customers had the right to know. The letter describes the corrective action stating, “The Williamson Water Utility Board was required by the State of W.Va. to monitor for one Nitrate Sample per year. The first in Jan. 2015 and the second in Nov. 2015. However, it was not performed during the monitoring period of July 2015 to Sept. 2015. At no time was your water quality compromised…”
During the meeting, McCune stated, “It very much concerns me that in one part of the letter it says ‘We did not monitor the test as required and therefore we cannot be sure of the quality of our drinking water. In another part of the letter it says ‘at no time was your water quality compromised.”
Board member Lacy Muncy responded, stating “They didn’t do it on the right dates. It has always been done, they just did it on the wrong dates…”
Office Manager, Lil Felix agreed stating, “It was tested twice. The state requires it to be tested once. It was tested twice but it was not tested within their time frame. It was tested before and after.”
“If we knew the water was safe, why would be get this letter?” McCune asked.
Felix responded, explaining that the letter sent to customers informing them of the violation was a state requirement.
McCune responded stating, “A day or two after I got this letter, the whole city of Columbus was told not to drink their water because of nitrates which is what this letter is talking about testing. I don’t accept your answer as satisfying me.”
“It was tested,” Muncy stated. “There was nothing wrong with the testing. It was done on the wrong dates.”
The discussion continued, with WUB members stating that Jason Allen, the Project Manager with Veolia Water, had explained the violation notification at a previous meeting.
Before letters were mailed, Jason Allen with Veolia water discussed the issue with WUB board members at a meeting held on May 26. The minutes from the May 26 meeting state, “Jason Allen provided copies of the April Monthly Operating Report (MOR), and had copies of the WV Division of Environmental Protection letter announcing all parameters tested were within permit limits. Allen also had information from 2015 regarding the water testing for Nitrate. Sampling was completed in January and November 2015. A letter from the Health Department stated that Veolia should have sampled for Nitrate in July and September. Due to the time frame Veolia has to submit to the public what took place. Allen stated his secretary was sending the letter and Veolia was covering the cost. Allen asked the Board if they had any input or wanted to make any changes. Chairman Carlton confirmed with Allen that the water was not compromised and no changes were made to the letter. Allen explained the notice could be placed on the monthly water bill but there is not enough room therefore they chose to do the letter. Chairman Carlton asked Allen if all the other testing dates were meeting the scheduled times. Allen stated that Veolia requires additional testing than the State and when they did their testing they missed the date the State required although Allen confirmed the testing had been completed on the Nitrate.”
On the letter mailed to residents, the WUB’s State Water System ID is listed as WV3303009. The Water System ID may be entered into the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website under the interactive Envirofacts tool to find more information regarding the WUB within the past ten years including violations. According to the Envirofacts, the WUB has not committed any health based violations within the ten year time frame. However, approximately 85 non health based violations have been reported relating to failure to meet monitoring and reporting requirements during the ten year time frame. To view the EPA’s Envirofacts visit https://www3.epa.gov/enviro/facts/sdwis/search.html.
Customers of the WUB may direct questions to Jason Allen at 304-235-2102.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)