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Water testing performed in 2010 CITY OF RUSTON PWS ID# 1061017
Once again we are proud to present our annual water quality report covering all testing performed between January 1 and December 31, 2010. As in years past, we are committed to delivering the best-quality drinking water possible. To that end, we remain vigilant in meeting the challenges of new regulations, source water protection, water conservation, and community outreach and education while continuing to serve the needs of all of our water users. Thank you for allowing us to continue providing you and your family with high-quality drinking water. We encourage you to share your thoughts with us on the information contained in this report. Should you ever have any questions, we are always available to assist you.
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immunocompromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants may be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. The U.S. EPA/CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 or
The City of Ruston customers use water from the Sparta Aquifer. This is a water-bearing sand. The Sparta Sand is approximately 500 to 700 feet below the clay and rock. The City of Ruston has nine water wells that supply our system. Four are automated and five are manually operated. The Sparta Aquifer is the main source of water for north central Louisiana and for southern Arkansas. To learn more about our watershed on the Internet, go to the U.S. Surf Your Watershed Web site at
If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. We are responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at safewater/lead.
For more information about this report, or for any questions relating to your drinking water, please contact Carl Mark Johnson, Water Production and Treatment Supervisor, by telephone at (318) 251-8611, by fax at (318) 251-9260, or by email at
The State of Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality helped compile a source water assessment for the City of Ruston. This assessment consisted of three steps: 1) Delineation of source water protection areas; 2) Inventory of significant potential sources of contamination within these areas; 3) Analysis of the system’s susceptibility to contamination from the potential sources identified. If you would like to see a copy of the Source Water Assessment for the City of Ruston, contact the Water Utilities office at (318) 251-8611 and we will be glad to set up a time for you to review the document.
Thanks in part to aggressive marketing, the bottled water industry has successfully convinced us all that water purchased in bottles is a healthier alternative to tap water. However, according to a four-year study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council, bottled water is not necessarily cleaner or safer than most tap water. In fact, about 25 percent of bottled water is actually just bottled tap water (40 percent according to government estimates).
The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for regulating bottled water, but these rules allow for less rigorous testing and purity standards than those required by the U.S. EPA for community tap water. For instance, the high mineral content of some bottled waters makes them unsuitable for babies and young children. Further, the FDA completely exempts bottled water that’s packaged and sold within the same state, which accounts for about 70 percent of all bottled water sold in the United States.
People spend 10,000 times more per gallon for bottled water than they typically do for tap water. If you get your recommended eight glasses a day from bottled water, you could spend up to $1,400 annually. The same amount of tap water would cost about 49 cents. Even if you installed a filter device on your tap, your annual expenditure would be far less than what you’d pay for bottled water.
For a detailed discussion on the NRDC study results, check out their Web site at
To ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the U.S. EPA prescribes regulations limiting the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water, which must provide the same protection for public health. Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of these contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals, in some cases radioactive material, and substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity. Substances that may be present in source water include:
Microbial Contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, or wildlife;
Inorganic Contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or may result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining or farming;
Pesticides and Herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff and residential uses;
Organic Chemical Contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and may also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff and septic systems;
Radioactive Contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or may be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.
For more information about contaminants and potential health effects, call the U.S. EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.
HOW IS YOUR WATER TREATED AND PURIFIED? The treatment process consists of a series of steps. First, the water is pumped from the Sparta Aquifer and we inject a phosphate to help sequester the iron. The phosphate is also a corrosion inhibitor to help protect the distribution system. The last injection at each water well is chlorine for disinfection. The dosages for the phosphate and chlorine are determined by the amount of water each well produces. The chlorine and phosphate are measured in parts per million. Water Well #9 has the capabilities to function like the other water wells or it can utilize the treatment plant on-site. When the treatment plant is in operation, we fill two filter units with water from Well #9. The water is aerated and chlorinated while filling the filter units. Each filter unit is a gravel and anthracite sand filter. The filter units are backwashed automatically when the head pressure builds up to eight pounds per square inch. The chlorine level is monitored each day to ensure proper disinfection for all water wells that are in operation.
The reddish-pink color frequently noted in bathrooms on shower stalls, tubs, tile, toilets, sinks, toothbrush holders and on pets’ water bowls is caused by the growth of the bacterium Serratia marcesens. Serratia is commonly isolated from soil, water, plants, insects, and vertebrates (including man). The bacteria can be introduced into the house through any of the above-mentioned sources. The bathroom provides a perfect environment (moist and warm) for bacteria to thrive. The best solution to this problem is to continually clean and dry the involved surfaces to keep them free from bacteria. Chlorine- based compounds work best, but keep in mind that abrasive cleaners may scratch fixtures, making them more susceptible to bacterial growth. Chlorine bleach can be used periodically to disinfect the toilet and help to eliminate the occurrence of the pink residue. Keeping bathtubs and sinks wiped down using a solution that contains chlorine will also help to minimize its occurrence.
Serratia will not survive in chlorinated drinking water.
You can play a role in conserving water and save yourself money in the process by becoming conscious of the amount of water your household is using and by looking for ways to use less whenever you can. It is not hard to conserve water. Here are a few suggestions:
Automatic dishwashers use 15 gallons for every cycle, regardless of how many dishes are loaded. So get a run for your money and load it to capacity. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Check every faucet in your home for leaks. Just a slow drip can waste 15 to 20 gallons a day. Fix it and you can save almost 6,000 gallons per year. Check your toilets for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. Watch for a few minutes to see if the color shows up in the bowl. It is not uncommon to lose up to 100 gallons a day from an invisible toilet leak. Fix it and you can save more than 30,000 gallons a year. Use your water meter to detect hidden leaks. Simply turn off all taps and water-using appliances. Then check the meter after 15 minutes. If it moved, you have a leak.
Cross-connections that contaminate drinking water distribution lines are a major concern. A cross-connection is formed at any point where a drinking water line connects to equipment (boilers), systems containing chemicals (air conditioning systems, fire sprinkler systems, irrigation systems), or water sources of questionable quality. Cross-connection contamination can occur when the pressure in the equipment or system is greater than the pressure inside the drinking water line (backpressure). Contamination can also occur when the pressure in the drinking water line drops due to fairly routine occurrences (main breaks, heavy water demand) causing contaminants to be sucked out from the equipment and into the drinking water line (backsiphonage) Outside water taps and garden hoses tend to be the most common sources of cross-connection contamination at home. The garden hose creates a hazard when submerged in a swimming pool or when attached to a chemical sprayer for weed killing. Garden hoses that are left lying on the ground may be contaminated by fertilizers, cesspools or garden chemicals. Improperly installed valves in your toilet could also be a source of cross-connection contamination. Community water supplies are continually jeopardized by cross- connections unless appropriate valves, known as backflow prevention devices, are installed and maintained. We have surveyed all industrial, commercial and institutional facilities in the service area to make sure that all potential cross-connections are identified and eliminated or protected by a backflow preventer. We also inspect and test each backflow preventer to make sure that it is providing maximum protection. For more information, review the Cross-Connection Control Manual from the U.S. EPA’s Web site at You can also call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.
ABOUT OUR VIOLATION Our water system tested a minimum of 25 samples per month in accordance with the Total Coliform Rule for testing for microbiological contaminants. During the monitoring period covered by this report, we had the following noted detections of microbiological contaminants: In the month of November, 3 of the 25 submitted samples were returned as positive for Total Coliform Bacteria. Once we were notified about the three positive samples, we recollected 3 samples upstream and 3 downstream of the three detected sample sites, at the three sample points, and three new samples at each of the nine water wells. All 36 samples were good; that is, we detected no positive samples. 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.
During the past year we have taken hundreds of water samples in order to determine the presence of any radioactive, biological, inorganic, volatile organic or synthetic organic contaminants. The table below shows only those contaminants that were detected in the water. The state allows us to monitor for certain substances less than once per year because the concentrations of these substances do not change frequently. In these cases, the most recent sample data are included, along with the year in which the sample was taken.



1Some people who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous systems, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.
2For details on our violation and subsequent clean testing, see the About Our Violation section of this report.
DEFINITIONS: AL (Action Level): The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements that a water system must follow. MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level): The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology. MCLG (Maximum Contaminant Level Goal): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety. MRDL (Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level): The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants. MRDLG (Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal): The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants. NA: Not applicable. ppb (parts per billion): One part substance per billion parts water (or micrograms per liter). ppm (parts per million): One part substance per million parts water (or milligrams per liter).
1td: June 22, 2011

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