drinking water file photo (copy)

HANFORD — The city of Hanford recently sent out its 2018 Consumer Confidence Report, which showed no major violations in the city’s water contaminant testing.

According to the report, the city remained under state and federal maximum contaminant levels in the dozens of contaminants the city regularly tests for.

John Doyel, Utilities and Engineering director, said the report is compiled to let the residents know what is going on with the water in the city, so they have confidence in the water that the city is providing. He said it’s essentially the city’s check and balance system.

The city’s water source is strictly ground water taken from wells, which is then pumped into a network of water mains and services from aquifers deep beneath the city. Hanford has 14 active wells and one standby well.

The Utilities and Engineering division monitors the quality and integrity of the city’s water and distribution system in accordance with current federal and state regulations by testing adequately and accurately.

The department routinely monitors drinking water for over 120 drinking water contaminants, with the state adding more every year, Doyel said. Depending on the contaminant, he said testing is conducted on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.

Any time there is a violation or a test that shows contaminants are above what regulations allow, Doyel said the city must let the citizens know and make the necessary changes as soon as possible.

The report, sent to every account holder in the city, shows the results of monitoring from Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2018.

The report showed that the city is in compliance with state and federal arsenic drinking water standards, but does still contain low levels. Average arsenic samples in Hanford tested at less than 5 parts per billion, which is under the allowed maximum of 10 ppb.

Officials said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues to research the health effects of low levels of arsenic, which is a mineral known to cause cancer in humans at high concentrations and is linked to other health effects such as skin damage and circulatory problems.

Recently, Well No. 50 in the city was testing at 12 ppb, just over the allowed 10 ppb. Doyel said the city immediately stopped using the well and is currently in the middle of $1.1 million project to treat the well.

Other compliant contaminate levels include lead, aluminum, fluoride, nitrate and selenium.

Some contaminates found included chloride, iron, manganese, sulfate, color and odor — most of which are naturally-occurring organic materials or occur through leaching from natural deposits.

Presence of contaminants does not necessarily pose a health risk. Even bottled water may contain small amounts of some contaminants.

Hanford water is chlorinated to prevent bacterial growth, which leads to the presence of disinfection byproducts and residuals.

Total trihalomethanes (TTHM) were tested, with the average level detected as 45.5 ppb. The maximum contaminant level is set at 80 ppb, so the city is not in violation.

The same goes for Haloacetic acid, which tested at an average of 8.65 ppb — much less than the maximum contaminant level of 60 ppb.

Both TTHM and Haloacetic acid are byproducts of drinking water disinfection. Some people who drink these contaminants in excess of the maximum contaminant levels over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer or other problems.

Doyel said testing is important and the department is dedicated to making sure the city provides good, clean drinking water and meets all the standards and regulations.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

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