Controversial Disinfectant Won't Be Added to Drinking Water
A plan to add a controversial disinfectant to the water supply in Charlottesville and Albemarle County is no more. This comes after dozens of people spoke out against the chloramines plan at a public hearing Wednesday night.
At issue was the planned use of chloramines in the drinking water in order to comply with new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for water quality. About 50 people spoke out against the plan in front of the four boards that shape the region's water policy.
Those boards include Charlottesville City Council, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority, and the Albemarle County Service Authority. The boards voted to take the use of chloramines off the table and to instead commission a $9,500 study to look at the use of a granular activated carbon filtration system.
Opponents of chloramines say it can cause rashes, digestive problems, can corrode pipes and that the studies on the chemical aren't complete.
"If such a cocktail is added to our drinking water, there are too many unknowns," chloramines opponent Pat Napoleon said. "It may take decades for us to learn some people are harmed by these substances."
"Although the EPA approves the use of chloramine and deems it safe, 18 pages later they admit, a gap in research that needs to be filled is human health studies," chloramines opponent May Lau said, "That's a rather broad broad area - human health - to be a gap."
Initial estimates showed implementation of a carbon filtration system would cost substantially more than treating the water with chloramines instead. The study the four boards have now commissioned will more closely examine that price disparity, to find the most economical carbon filtration system available.
"I'm always looking for the best bang for our buck," Albemarle County Supervisor Ken Boyd said, "But certainly the public was very concerned about the use of chloramines, so I think we made the right decision tonight."
Boyd says, in the next six weeks, the four boards will need to tell the Virginia Board of Health how the region plans to comply with those new EPA standards.
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Derick Waller joined the NBC 29 news team in August, 2010. Prior to this, Derick graduated with degrees in both broadcast journalism and political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story