AZ - Homes got tainted water during treatment plant malfunctions : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Associated Press March 08, 2001 08:10:00

A malfunction allowed inadequately treated water to reach homes in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley briefly twice last month, officials say.

The malfunction occurred in a privately run water treatment plant that strips out a known carcinogen - TCE or trichloroethylene - in preparation of drinking water.

The result was that the water reaching about 10,000 customers served by Arizona-American Water Co. carried higher TCE levels than are allowed.

Both state and federal health officials said Wednesday the brief release of the untreated water did not pose a health risk.

"The real damage is to the system's credibility because people can lose trust if a water system isn't delivering water that meets their expectations," said Will Humble of the Arizona Department of Health Services. "People expect it to meet standards. To that extent, it's a problem."

Authorities said one instance occurred during a 20-hour span from Feb. 7 to Feb. 8 when an electrical failure shut down a blower that helps remove the TCE.

Jim Campbell, manager for Arizona-American, said the malfunction occurred again for about five hours on Feb. 26.

He said the company and Maricopa County Environmental Health Services closed the contaminated well and notified consumers.

"The well has been taken off-line, and will remain off-line until this is resolved," Campbell said. "We're going over our control system with a fine-tooth comb."

-- Doris (, March 09, 2001

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