Despite notice, City of Tyler says water is safe for residents to drink
by Francesca Washington, originally posted on October 30, 2015
TYLER, TX (KLTV) – This week, the City of Tyler informed residents of elevated levels of a compound in the city’s water source.
“The water is absolutely safe,” says Tyler Utilities Engineer Lisa Crossman.
But Tyler resident James Karolchyck says he’s not taking any chances.
“I think we’re just going to stock up on bottled water. That’s going to shoot the stock up on Evian water,” Karolchyck says.
The city issued a notice saying the city’s water had gone over the maximum level for haloacetic acid.
“The exceedance that we experienced was only 0.002 milligrams per liter over the EPA maximum contaminant level,” Crossman says.
Haloacetic acids are a byproduct of disinfection in water treatment plants.
“It’s formed when chlorine, which is what we use to remove harmful pathogens, in water reacts to naturally occurring organic material in the lakes,” Crossman says.
The notice says the water could cause those who drink it to develop cancer. But EPA studies show that an adult would have to drink a half gallon of contaminated water every day for 60 to 70 years for that to be an issue.
“I was in shock. Being a 25-year cancer survivor, I was kind of concerned about it,” Karolchyk says.
Crossman says the water is back to normal now. But from July to September the weather contaminated the water.
“When it rains those organic materials are washed into the lake. The spring had abnormally high levels of rain, and it also rained many days in a row. We’re not experiencing that level of rainfall right now,” Crossman says.
Crossman says they are making adjustments to their treatment process to minimize the formation of disinfection products and keep Tyler’s water safe to drink. City officials say if they believed the water was a health risk, they would have issued a boil water notice. They say the level of contamination was not that severe.
The City of Tyler is not being penalized by the state for the time their water was contaminated.