After making several process changes beginning November 2015, Tyler Water Utilities (TWU) continues to be in compliance with lead and copper standards for drinking water and sees steady improvement in water quality.
TWU worked with the TCEQ to organize a more robust sampling protocol for 2016 for lead and copper levels. These samples were targeted at the customers’ tap as well as surface water and ground water sources. Residential sampling sites were selected based on year of construction and the potential that they may have plumbing materials containing lead and copper.
“TWU continues to research ways to improve water quality,” Environmental Compliance Engineer Kate Dietz said. “The City is continually working to identify alternative treatment strategies to provide the safest and best drinking water to its customers.”
Having recently completed collecting 100 more lead and copper water samples for the second half of 2016, the test results indicate a continuing decline in lead and copper levels, verifying the effectiveness of the water treatment process improvements implemented last winter. The most recent testing reveals a reduction of lead levels of 84% compared to 2015 and 50% compared to the first half of 2016. The copper level reduction is 95% compared to 2015 and 71% compared to the first half of 2016.
The current levels posted on the TCEQ Drinking Water Watch website are as follows:
- Lead = 2.08 ppb (86% below the EPA action limit of 15 parts per billion)
- Copper = 0.07 ppm (95% below the EPA action limit of 1.3 parts per million)
“The process changes made at the plants show significant improvements as documented by the recent test results,” City Manager Ed Broussard said. “In the most recent sampling, Tyler is in compliance with standards set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for lead and copper.”
Some of the water treatment process improvements implemented last winter include increasing the use of ozone, enhanced coagulation and the addition of sodium hydroxide in the water treatment process.
Sodium hydroxide is used primarily to improve water stability by increasing the pH and alkalinity of drinking water, thus reducing the potential for corrosivity which can lead to increased levels of lead and copper.
“I am pleased with the progress that is being made,” Mayor Martin Heines said. “By implementing many of the suggestions from the third party review, we have seen our water quality improve. This does not mean that we are done. We have a lot of work to do to ensure we are maintaining our infrastructure in a way that we can be proud of.”