Vermont City’s Drinking Water Contains Toxic Chemical

The amount of haloacetic acids found in the drinking water in Bennington, Vt., has gone over the amount allowed by federal standards.

This has happened to Bennington’s Water Department for the past five years, which is why the city is spending $7 million to update its facility.

The department sent out a letter informing residents that there was no immediate risk to public health. The Rutland Herald reported that the level of haloacetic acids in the water measured in at .080 milligrams per liter, while the federal standard is .060.

A few years ago these levels would not have been a cause for alarm. According to the EPA, haloacetic acids are byproducts formed when chlorine and other disinfectants react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter in water. Drinking high levels of haloacetic acids over many years can lead to an increased risk of cancer.

The EPA set the current standards for large public water systems in 2001, and expanded it to all groundwater public water systems in 2003.

In Bennington’s new water treatment facility, ultraviolet light will be used for disinfection, which has not previously been used in Vermont. Chlorination will be used as a secondary means of disinfection.

The Rutland Herald

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