The Agency of Natural Resources Water Supply Division has sent a notice to the municipal water system in Richford, Vt., for violating federal environmental standards for a potential carcinogen, haloacetic acids.
According to the County Courier, the average levels of haloacetic acids over the past 15 months exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency standard of .060 milligrams per liter. The notice stated that the amounts found at the Richford plant were about .005-.006 milligrams per liter higher than the amount allowed.
The acids are a byproduct of water disinfection, and officials are concerned over the long-term effects.
Water Supply Division Compliance Manager Ellen Parr Doering said that the acids are a carcinogen, and if the water were to be consumed for many years it would increase the risk of cancer.
ANR and local officials do not feel that there are immediate health risks, and it is not necessary for residents to find an alternate source of water. However, pregnant women, young children and those with health issues should talk to a doctor before drinking the water.
Richford has been testing its water since August of 2002, and this is the first time it has exceeded the EPA limits. Doreing also told the County Courier that more than a dozen water systems in Vermont have problems with acids.
EPA calls for tests to be done every three months. A violation results only if the yearly average exceeds the standard limit.
Richford’s water system serves 470 homes and businesses, and the plant holds 950,00 gallons.
The water system has until Nov. 1 to find a state-certified engineer to provide a preliminary plan to lower the haloacetic acid levels.