East Tennessee utility companies find contaminants above health guidelines in tap water

Local News

(WATE) — The Environmental Working Group released results of chemicals found in tap water in communities across the United States.

EWG’s quality report was created from testing results by water utility agencies. Many utility agencies in East Tennessee reported contaminants detected above health guidelines that can lead to cancer and thyroid problems.

The group says many industrial and agricultural contaminants that can lead to medical problems can be found in tap water. Also, other sources of contamination can be from treatment byproducts, run off and sprawl, and natural occurrences.

Knox County

The Knoxville Utility Board found six contaminants above health guidelines: bromodichloromethane, chloroform, dibromochloromethane, total trihalomethanes and hormones. According to EWG, all of the contaminants can lead to cancer except for hormones.

KUB issued a statement saying it meets all federal, state and local guidelines.

KUB is aware of the database from the Environmental Working Group, and wants to reassure our customers that KUB’s drinking water meets or exceeds all local, state, and federal guidelines set by the EPA. The California health guidelines used in the EWG database are not representative of any current standards set by any regulatory agency, and we encourage customers to review the water quality report produced by their utility to be properly informed on the status of their utility’s water. The information contained in the EWG database is not new – it is reported annually in KUB’s water quality report and the EWG database is gathering its information from data already submitted to regulatory agencies by the utilities. These detected contaminants are at parts per billion or million, which is like looking for a grain of sand in an Olympic sized swimming pool. It is not clear that any substance at this trace amount causes health effects in people.

KUB performs more than 100,000 tests annually, meeting all water quality standards, and also participates in testing and reporting above and beyond that to help advance the science of water quality and to support the development of appropriate standards for water treatment. KUB’s state certified lab performs testing at this level of detail and reports these findings. KUB’s water quality report is available online, and we encourage customers with questions to call us at 524-2911 if they have questions.

The First Utility District of Knox County and Hallsdale-Powell Utility District also found bromodichloromethane, chloroform, chromium (hexavalent), dibromochloromethane and total trihalomethanes.

Knox-Chapman Utility District and the West Knox Utility District found many of the same contaminants above health guidelines including radiological contaminants.

Anderson County

The Anderson County Water Authority and the Clinton Utilities Board found four contaminants above health guidelines that can lead to cancer: bromodichloromethane, chloroform, chromium (hexavalent) and total trihalomethanes.

Oak Ridge Department of Public Works found the same contaminants above health guidelines and dibromochloromethane.

Only one contaminant above health guidelines was found by the Norris Water Commission: total trihalomethanes.

Oliver Springs Water Board only found radiological contaminants.

Blount County

South Blount Utility District found five contaminants above health guidelines bromodichloromethane, chlorate, chloroform, chromium (hexavalent) and total trihalomethanes. According to EWS, chlorate can cause harm to the thyroid.

Alcoa Water System found bromodichloromethane, chloroform, chromium (hexavalent), radiological contaminants and total trihalomethanes.

Sevier County

Seven contaminants above health guidelines were found by Sevierville Water System: bromodichloromethane, chlorate, chloroform, chromium (hexavalent), dibromochloromethane, radiological contaminants and total trihalomethanes.

Pigeon Forge Water Department found the same contaminants as Sevierville Water Systems above health guidelines but did not find radiological contaminants.

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