Microplastics not an area of concern for Charlottesville water

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 3:16 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 12, 2022 at 3:20 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Microplastics can be problematic when they get into our drinking water. So far, it doesn’t appear these tiny bits from degraded plastic are an issue around Charlottesville.

“We are in compliance with federal and state regulations for drinking water contaminants,” Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority Director of Operations Dave Tungate said. “No regulation has been established by the federal government or the state of Virginia for microplastics.”

Tungate says RWSA doesn’t filter microplastics, for but they aren’t an area of concern in our drinking water.

“We do employ common conventional surface water treatment that does settle particles as part of our treatment process,” he said. “We settle pieces of clay, silt, sand. We’ve settled that in our process and these pieces of plastic would settle similarly.”

Even if microplastics made it to a water treatment plant, odds are they would not make it to your faucet.

“It’s important to note that microplastics, while they range in size from 5 millimeters, 2.3 millimeters, the technology that we use in our conventional surface water treatment plants would capture 90-99%, of any of those kinds of plastics” Tungate said.

While microplastics are being discussed more, testing for them is still a challenge.

“Right now, there isn’t a state of Virginia or a federal standard for testing for microplastics,” Tungate said. “We haven’t actually come to some resolution on how to look for these microplastics.”

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