Sampletown Water Quality Report - 2010

Last year, we conducted more than 500 tests for over 80 drinking water contaminants. We only detected 7 contaminants, and found only atrazine at a level higher than the state allows. As we told you in a letter at the time, our water was temporarily unsafe. For more information, see the paragraph on the back marked Violation. This brochure is a snapshot of the quality of the water that we provided last year. Included are details about where your water comes from, what it contains, and how it compares to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state standards. We are committed to providing you with information because informed customers are our best allies. For more information about your water, call 867-5309 and ask for Joe Sampson.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised 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 can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).

Your water comes from three municipal wells sunk about 500 feet into an underground source of water called the Low Plain Aquifer. These wells are located west of town behind the municipal garage. The town owns the land around these wells and restricts any activity that could contaminate them. After the water comes out of the wells, we treat it to remove several contaminants and we also add disinfectant to protect you against microbial contaminants. The state is performing an assessment of our source water that it will complete by January 2011. We will report the results to you and tell you how to get a copy of the report when it is available.

Our Water Board meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 pm in the Town Hall. Please feel free to participate in these meetings.

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).

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 and, in some cases, radio-active material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.

Contaminants that may be present in source water before we treat it include:

  • Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations and wildlife.
  • Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally-occurring or 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 and residential uses.
  • Radioactive contaminants, which are naturally occurring.
  • Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems.

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. We treat our water according to EPA's regulations. Food and Drug Administration regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health.

About our Atrazine violation: During March, April and May, a big surge in the use of atrazine-based herbicides by area farmers caused our water to exceed the MCL for atrazine. We sent a notice warning you of this problem when it occurred. We are working with the state and local farmers to ensure that this never happens again, and we are monitoring atrazine levels monthly. We regret exposing you to any potential risk. You should know that some people who drink water containing atrazine well in excess of the MCL over many years could experience problems with their cardiovascular system or reproductive difficulties. If you want more information about barium or the violation, please call us (867-5309), Sample County's health department (423-4444), or the state drinking water office (853-323-3333).

Water Quality Data

The table below lists all the drinking water contaminants that we detected during the 1998 calendar year. The presence of these contaminants in the water does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. Unless otherwise noted, the data presented in this table is from testing done January 1-December 31, 1998. The state requires us to monitor for certain contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants are not expected to vary significantly from year to year. Some of the data, though representative of the water quality, is more than one year old.

Terms & abbreviations used below:

  • Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG): 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.
  • Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL): 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.
  • Action Level (AL): the concentration of a contaminant which, when exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.
  • n/a: not applicable • nd: not detectable at testing limit • ppb: parts per billion or micrograms per liter • ppm: parts per million or milligrams per liter • pCi/l: picocuries per liter (a measure of radiation)
Inorganic Contaminants



Sampletown water

Range of detections

Sample Date


Typical Source of Contaminant

Fluoride (ppm)





water additive which promotes strong teeth
Nitrate as nitrogen (ppm)





runoff from fertilizer use
Organic Chemical Contaminants
Atrazine (ppb)





YES runoff from herbicide used on row crops
Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) (ppb)





by-product of drinking water chlorination
Beta/photon emitters (pCi/L)

50 **



erosion of natural deposits



Sampletown water

# of sites found above the AL

Lead (ppb)




1 site above AL out of 20 sites sampled

corrosion of household plumbing systems
Unregulated Contaminants
Chloromethane (ppb)

not regulated


May 1995

EPA regulations require us to monitor this contaminant while EPA considers setting a limit on it.

About Nitrate: Nitrate in drinking water at levels above 10 ppm is a health risk for infants of less than six months of age. High nitrate levels in drinking water can cause blue baby syndrome. Nitrate levels may rise quickly for short periods of time because of rainfall or agricultural activity. If you are caring for an infant, you should ask for advice from your health care provider.

Is our water system meeting other rules that govern our operations? The state and EPA require us to test our water on a regular basis to ensure its safety. In February and May of this year, we took the samples at the required time but failed to submit the results of this monitoring to the state in a timely manner. We are reviewing our procedures to ensure that this paperwork will be submitted in a timely manner in the future.