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If You Received A Letter From Clermont County Public Water System, Here's What You Need To Know

The Clermont County Public Water System has sent letters out to people around Newtonsville, warning them about an elevated level of trihalomethanes (THM) in the drinking water. The system's assistant director says the Ohio EPA set the average acceptable level for THM at 0.080 milligrams per liter. Recent tests show the level around Newtonsville was at 0.081 mg/L.

Tim Neyer says trihalomethanes are disinfection byproducts. "They are the result of chlorine interacting with organics that are occurring in the water."

He says there are three factors that contribute to the development of THM: the amount of organics in the water, the age of the water and temperature.

"What we've done to minimize the problem and mitigate it in the future is … we've reduced the amount of organics leaving the plant, flushing some specific fire hydrants, so we've reduced the amount of time chlorine has to react with the organics. We've also reduced our finished level of chlorine in the water," Neyer says.

The most recent results from follow-up testing at the site that exceeded the standard showed levels back down to .057 mg/L, Neyer says. "So we've already implemented these changes, we've already seen a reduction; however until we have our next compliance sample the first week of March, we're not allowed to say we're in compliance."  That's because of Ohio EPA rules.

Despite some internet rumors, he says there's no connection to water problems like the one in Flint, Mich., which saw THM levels of 99 ug/l and included lead contamination.

"We are also required to sample for lead," Neyer says. "Our most recent round of sampling was 2018. All of our lead samples came back below the MCL (maximum containment level) for lead."

Neyer also says Clermont County's water system has always prohibited the use of lead.

Since there are conflicting scientific studies about the health effects of THMs, the Clermont County Public Water System recommends people who have concerns direct questions to their doctors. 

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