City Committed To Reducing Levels Of Chlorine By-productsTOPEKA, Kan. Consolidated Rural Water District #3 Shawnee, and Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority Forbes Field have been notified that they are in violation of HAA requirements. HAAs are Haloacetic Acids, compounds that are byproducts created from chlorine water filtration.
CRWD#3 buys 100 percent of their water from the City of Topeka, and provides water to areas generally in southern Shawnee County outside the City limits.
Each RWD has 30 days to inform their customers of the violation. The City of Topeka has not exceeded the limit for HAAs.
Chlorine has been added to drinking water for more than 100 years to kill potentially dangerous microorganisms, and to make the water safe to drink. Years ago, it was discovered that by-products are created by the reaction of the chlorine with naturally occurring organic material in the water. Among these by-products are compounds known as Haloacetic Acids (HAAs).
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has the responsibility for the administration of drinking water standards, has determined the possibility exists that some people who drink water containing high levels of HAAs over several decades could have an increased risk of getting cancer. Because of this potential, the EPA has established regulations intended to reduce the levels of HAAs in drinking water.
Violation of the HAA standard is not considered an immediate threat to persons. The risk is created from long-term exposure to HAAs that exceed the standards.
The City of Topeka has been testing for HAAs for more than 10 years. We have approached the limit several times, but with some inexpensive adjustments, weve been able to maintain compliance. Recent changes in monitoring requirements, however, will make it unlikely that we will continue to stay in compliance without major changes in our treatment process.
We sample 8 specified locations in the City. Previously, the annual amount for testing was determined by averaging all those locations together. Now, if the annual average at any one location is above the maximum level, the City will be out of compliance.
The City of Topeka provides drinking water to wholesale customers outside the City limits through wholesale contracts. The wholesale customers then sell the water to their customers. In the past, wholesale customers have not been required to test for HAAs. Recent changes now require our wholesale customers to test for HAAs.
Because of the HAA testing requirement changes, staff reached the conclusion that unless significant capital improvements are made, it is only a matter of time before the City and wholesale customers exceed the limits for HAAs.
In an effort to solve the problem, the City hired a consultant in 2012 that completed a study of options to remain in compliance with HAA-related water quality parameters. The consultant has completed the report, and is now working to better develop estimates for the cost of installation.
The consulting firm retained by the City has recommended that the City change its disinfection process from using chlorine to using Ozone.
Using Ozone to disinfect the water has many advantages:
Regulatory compliance with HAA requirements.
No chemical addition to the water ozone is created using electricity.
Greatly improves the taste and odor of the water. Every few years, Topeka experiences taste and odor issues caused by algae in the lakes and rivers. Current water treatment processes are ineffective in correcting the taste and odor issues, but ozone has been proven effective. Customers generally consider Water Treatment facilities that use Ozone for disinfection to have the best tasting water.
Ozone will reduce the levels of other undesirable elements, such as algal toxins.
Ozone does have a higher capital cost to install than other options, but has a lower operating cost than other options, making it the better choice over the life of the assets.
An Ozone project is planned for upcoming discussions with the City's governing body.