No pesticides or herbicides found in Charleston or Mount Pleasant water
Due to recent community concern on social media about complaints of brain cancer cases in the Park West, Dunes West and Rivertowne area in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Water System (CWS) and Mount Pleasant Waterworks (MPW) voluntarily sent a total of 15 water samples to be analyzed, all which showed no detection of harmful compounds.
The samples were analyzed by Eurofins Eaton Analytical located in South Bend, Indiana for over 200 analytes, including pesticides, herbicides and other organic compounds, according to press releases from MPW and CWS.
“Every decision we make begins with public health in mind and we are committed to providing clean, safe and reliable drinking water to our customers,” said Kin Hill, CEO at CWS in the press release. “We responded immediately to this situation out of an abundance of caution and because we wanted to assure the community that there are no pesticides or herbicides in our drinking water.”
Concerns originally arose after non-certified water screening test kits utilized by homeowners appeared to indicate the presence of pesticides in Mount Pleasant drinking water, about 50 percent of which is supplied by the CWS, according to Mike Saia, communications manager for CWS.
Famed environmentalist Erin Brokovich even weighed in on the issue on her Facebook page after concerns first emerged.
Her post read in short, “There are more unanswered questions about Mount Pleasant and Charleston, South Carolina’s water quality than there are answers…Charleston claims to do thousands of water quality tests but doesn’t really report very much to you the consumer…the USEPA “suggests” they customize the report for the local source water conditions…Charleston does not. Your drinking water system uses chloramine as a disinfectant…a poor choice. In fact your drinking water has confirmed toxic chloramine byproducts in it called nitrosamines (NDMA) as a result of the use of ammonia. Your source water has many pesticides (Dieldren), herbicides (Atrazine), pfoa/pfos (scotch-guard/Teflon), pharmaceuticals (estrogen/Viagra) and other “unregulated” contaminants in it today. These should have been reported to you. Some have health advisories, some have maximum contaminant levels (MCL), like atrazine. The herbicide atrazine, if detected, even below the MCL must be reported—it is not. The citizens of Mount Pleasant and greater Charleston are entitled to more respect and full disclosure. What have they got to hide? If there are contaminants in your drinking water you have the right to make a choice of what your family consumes and what it does not.”
Worry about the safety of the area’s drinking water quickly spread to Daniel Island via social media, as the island’s water is also supplied by the Charleston Water System. However, Saia explained that the water is regularly and thoroughly tested.
“Charleston Water System’s drinking water is tested annually more than 20,000 times for over 150 substances and parameters,” said Saia. “Of these, only those listed in our CCR/Annual Water Quality Report under the heading ‘Detected in Our Water’ were found in our water and all were detected at levels below the regulatory limit. In addition to the detected substances, we are required to report the results for certain contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia, even when none are detected.”
The CWS water samples were collected at five sites between July 12 and July 14, according to the press release. They included raw water from the Bushy Park Reservoir and Edisto River as they enter the Hanahan Water Treatment Plant; treated water as it exited the Hanahan Water Treatment Plant, which supplies the entire 460 mile CWS service area including Daniel Island; treated water at the CWS feed point into Mount Pleasant at I-526; and treated water at the CWS feed point into Mount Pleasant at Highway 41, which serves the general area of the Rivertowne, Park West and Dunes West communities where the concerns were concentrated.
According to the CWS press release, the presence of three Trihalomethane (THM) analytes were detected, but they are not pesticides or herbicides.
“They are very common chloramine/chlorine disinfection by-products consistently found in wa-ter systems that source their product from surface water,” stated the release. “The CWS total THM (TTHM) level was 12.3 ppb (parts per billion), far below the DHEC and United States En-vironmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory limit of 80 ppb locational running annual aver-age.”
MPW held a public meeting on Monday, July 24 where representatives explained the test results in depth and took community questions. The biggest question on resident’s minds: What about the chemicals GenX and C8? These compounds are also known as fluorochemicals, a group of man-made compounds that have been used for decades in a wide range of industrial processes and consumer products—including Teflon, Scotchgard and some cosmetics, according to chemicalprocessing.com. The substances’ tend to resist decomposition in the environment and elimination from the body, which has ultimately sparked health concerns.
The recent samples were not tested for GenX or C8 because the concern was with the detection of herbicides and pesticides, explained MPW Water Operations Manager Allan Clum during the presentation. However, he added, testing for these chemicals was completed over four quarters from 2014 to 2015, which did not detect any harmful compounds.
To review the full test results for CWS and/or MPW, visit www.charlestonwater.com and https://www.mountpleasantwaterworks.com/article/298.