Annual Drinking Water Quality Report
This Annual Drinking Water Quality Report for calendar year 2020 is designed to inform you about your drinking water quality. Our goal is to provide you with a safe and dependable supply of drinking water, and we want you to understand the efforts we make to protect your water supply. The quality of your drinking water must meet state and federal requirements administered by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).
If you have questions about this report, please contact: Luke Lowe 276-706-6182 or Don Cole 276-646-3232
If you want additional information about any aspect of your drinking water or want to know how to participate in decisions that may affect the quality of your drinking water, please contact:
Jay Keen 276-706-6895
The times and location of regularly scheduled board meetings are as follows:
Second Thursday of Each Month at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, 325 East Lee Highway, Chilhowie, Virginia, 24319
The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity. Contaminants that may be present in source water include: (i) microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife; (ii) inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming; (iii) pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and residential uses; (iv) organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are byproducts of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems; (v) 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, EPA prescribes regulations that 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.
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 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 (800-426-4791).
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer who are 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 microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800- 426-4791).
SOURCE and TREATMENT OF YOUR DRINKING WATER
The source of your drinking water is groundwater under the direct influence of surface water from the Chilhowie/Washington County Service Authority Regional Water Treatment Plant. Treatment includes filtration, chlorine disinfection, and fluoridation.
A source water assessment of our system was conducted in 2020 by the Virginia Department of Health. The Widener Spring, Jones Spring, and Cole Spring were determined to be of high susceptibility to contamination using the criteria developed by the state in its approved Source Water Assessment Program. Additional information concerning this report may be obtained by calling the Town of Chilhowie at the number listed above.
Contaminants in your drinking water are routinely monitored according to Federal and State regulations. The table on the next page shows the results of our monitoring for the period of January 1st to December 31st, 2020. In the table and elsewhere in this report you will find many terms and abbreviations you might not be familiar with. The following definitions are provided to help you better understand these terms:
Maximum Contaminant Level, or MCL – 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.
Maximum Contaminant Level Goal, or MCLG – 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.
Non-detects (ND) – lab analysis indicates that the contaminant is not present
Parts per million (ppm) or Milligrams per liter (mg/l) – one part per million corresponds to one minute in two years or a single penny in $10,000.
Parts per billion (ppb) or Micrograms per liter – one part per billion corresponds to one minute in 2,000 years, or a single penny in $10,000,000.
Parts per trillion (ppt) or Nanograms per liter (nanograms/l) – one part per trillion corresponds to one minute in 2,000,000 years, or a single penny in $10,000,000,000.
Picocuries per liter (pCi/L) – picocuries per liter is a measure of the radioactivity in water.
Action Level (AL) – the concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.
Treatment Technique (TT) – a required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.
Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU) – nephelometric turbidity unit is a measure of the clarity, or cloudiness, of water. Turbidity in excess of 5 NTU is just noticeable to the average person. Turbidity is monitored because it is a good indicator of the effectiveness of our filtration system.
Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal or MRDLG – the level of drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.
Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level or MRDL – the highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a 2
disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.
Level 1 assessment – a study of the water system to identify potential problems and determine (if possible) why total coliform bacteria have been found in our water system.
Level 2 assessment – a very detailed study of the waterworks to identify potential problems and determine (if possible) why an E. coli PMCL violation has occurred and/or why total coliform bacteria have been found in our water system on multiple occasions.
MCL’s are set at very stringent levels by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In developing the standards EPA assumes that the average adult drinks 2 liters of water each day throughout a 70-year life span. EPA generally sets MCLs at levels that will result in no adverse health effects for some contaminants or a one-in-ten-thousand to one-in-a-million chance of having the described health effect for other contaminants.
Violation Information – Your water system did not have any reporting, MCL or TT violations during 2020.
Additional Information for Lead
If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. The Town of Chilhowie is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to two minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).