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PUBLIC NOTICE City of Ruston Water System

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PUBLIC NOTICE
City of Ruston Water System
Exception to Maximum Contaminant Level for Coliform Bacteria
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT On December 15, 2010, the City was informed by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (“DHH”) that three (3) of the twenty-five (25) required monthly samples that the State laboratory tests for water quality exceeded the allowable number of coliform bacteria present in a public water system (for samples collected November 9, 2010). This is not an emergency. The water you are drinking is safe. The samples that we tested before this one day, and the samples that we tested in the system and at the water wells following this one day have all been negative for coliform bacteria. However, because of this occurrence we are required to inform you, using the following specific language provided by La. DHH:
“During the reporting period of November 1, 2010, through November 30, 2010, the Ruston Water System violated the maximum contaminate level of coliform bacteria as set forth in the State and Federal Primary Drinking Water Regulations [part XII of the Louisiana State Sanitary Code (LAC 51:XII)]. Action has been taken to eliminate the contamination.You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions. However, if you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor. People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-(800) 426-4791. This is not an emergency. If it had been you would have been notified immediately. Total coliform bacteria are generally not harmful themselves.
Coliforms are bacteria that are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other, potentially harmful, bacteria may be present. Coliforms were found in more samples than allowed and this was a warning of potential problems. Usually, coliforms are a sign that there could be a problem with the treatment or distribution system (pipes). Whenever we detect coliform bacteria in any sample, we do follow-up testing to see if other bacteria of greater concern, such as fecal coliform or E. coli, are present. We did not find any of these bacteria in our subsequent testing. If we had, we would have notified you immediately. Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.”
Our Water Department’s highest priority is to insure that your water supply is clean and safe. We test your water supply every day and we strive to keep any line repairs or installation projects as sanitary as possible. Replacing aging or damaged water lines is a vital part of keeping our water supply clean. Unfortunately, any break in a line, either an unplanned emergency, or as a result of water main replacement projects, does open a slim possibility of a temporary contamination, despite our best efforts. Recently, there were three water main breaks that occurred over the course of one weekend, and crews were dispatched to make emergency repairs. In addition, we have had two separate water main replacement projects under construction in the general area of the suspected contamination during the month of November that could have caused this violation. We continue to inspect and monitor the construction progress to insure that the projects are compliant with DHH rules and regulations. Also, we try to make sure that the samples that we collect and deliver to the State laboratory for testing are as clean and sterile as possible. To this end we recently inspected the sample collection bags that are given to us by the State, and we identified several that appeared to be suspect. On the outside chance that the collection bags were compromised in any way, we are having some of the bags tested to see if they are intact and sterile. We will discard any potentially faulty testing equipment to insure that we have the most accurate testing scenario possible. As mentioned earlier, we conducted extensive testing following this event to insure that your water supply was safe. We tested the raw water supply directly from the water wells, and we tested the distribution system at locations close to where any suspected contamination might have occurred. No contamination was found in any of the subsequent tests that were performed. We continue to test your water supply on a daily basis, as we have done for years, to insure that it is safe. If you have any question please contact me, Troy Whitman, at 251-8611 and I will be happy to discuss this with you.
1td:December 26, 2010

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