Today, the RI Department of Health, Office of Drinking Water Quality is releasing the results of recent water quality monitoring for the Pascoag Utility District public water system. Monitoring of the water supply was initiated by HEALTH in response to the detection of MTBE in a sample collected by a private homeowner in late August 2001.
Mixing of water from the Harrisville Fire District was initiated on September 28, 2001. After some minor equipment adjustments, the booster pump at the connection began running full time on the evening of October 1st. The water continues to supplement the Pascoag Utility District 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Installation of a carbon filtration system at Pascoag Well Station No. 3 was substantially complete on Saturday, November 17th. Minor adjustments to auxiliary equipment (e.g., chlorination, pH adjustment, etc.) will continue for the next few weeks until the water treatment system is optimized. Monitoring of the water leaving the carbon filtration system is being performed regularly to determine the need to replace the carbon media inside the filters.
The designed purpose of the water treatment system is to reduce the levels of contamination and ultimately provide users with safer water for uses such as bathing. Although a marked improvement in the water quality has been found since the filtration system came on-line, the water in the system is still not safe to drink.
All HEALTH Advisories remain in effect: Residents should still use bottled water for drinking, cooking, and should not bathe infants in tap water
While monitoring for typical gasoline constituents in the Pascoag water system, all samples collected by HEALTH were analyzed for a total of 59 volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) by EPA Method 524. Most of the compounds checked are associated with petroleum products. Only the gasoline additive MTBE had been detected in the water supply, until a trace level of benzene was detected in the water at Well #3 on November 14th, and again on November 20th. Benzene has not been detected in the water in the distribution system to date.