Utility district in compliance with water regulations

Published 4:50 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Lettering on water bills from residents within the South Elizabethton Utility District area has recently raised some concerns due to the mention of “unsafe lead” on each document.

With concerns coming from customers, District Manager Kevin Lenden confirmed to the Elizabethton Star Tuesday morning that the lettering on bills has been officially removed from the bills and was in regards to a violation that took place in June 2017.

“Since that time we’ve had to do two separate tests of 20 samples and we’ve passed each,” Lenden said. “It was just a matter of keeping the warning on there from the (Environmental Protection Agency) EPA about the violation in June. But with tests back, we’re able to take that off our bills. We are in compliance with regulations.”

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Tests were performed at the end of 2017 and early this year to move the district back into compliance.

Lead issues arose at the district in June following a sample of 20 homes from a district that serves over 2,000. At that time, Lenden noted that 11 showed a nondetect of lead while six homes had a detection below the regulated number (0.015) by the EPA while three homes were above the limit, which put the district in violation.

“The three put us in violation,” Lenden told the Elizabethton Star during last year’s announcement. “We had 11 come back as nondetects, which is the highest I’ve seen.”

According to information provided by the EPA, homes built before 1986 are “more likely to contain these materials,” while newer homes can also be at risk. Before Jan. 4, 2014, the amount of lead allowed in pipes had been reduced to 0.25 percent.

Tips individuals can use if there is a fear of lead from the state and EPA include:

• Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula

• Do not boil water to remove lead

• Look for alternative drinking water sources

• Identify plumbing fixtures that contain lead

• Get your children tested

Lenden added residents have brought the issue before him about the lettering on the bills, but stated that the system is now in compliance. No lead pipes are used within the district and the size of nondetects showcase the work being put in from water treatment plants, according to Lenden.

Residents within the district can call (423) 542-8588 to have their water tested for lead.